Being environmentally conscious can sometimes be a pain. You have every intention of separating the recyclables but some how it just ends up in one big giant pile of trash. That will eventually, at the end of the week, have to be separated. Enter the Recycling Sorter!

Materials needed.

1×6 wood planks (I used cedar)
1×2 wood planks
1×3 wood planks
1 1/4 inch outdoor wood screws
1 3/4″ outdoor wood screws
Scotch 3M outdoor fasteners
3 plastic storage bins with a lip around the edges that will allow it to slide in and out of your storage sorter.

Step 1:

Cut the sides for the carcass of the recycling sorter the height that works best for you.  I went with 32″ so I could get three out of each 8′ 1×6.

Step 2:

If your 1×2 a couple inches longer than your plastic tubs.  This will determine the depth of your Sorter Bin.  Mine is aproximately  22″ deep.

Step 3:

Assemble sides.  Use your 1 1/4″ screws and secure one of the 1×2 at the top and bottom of your planks.

Depending on the length of your 1×2 (which was determined by your storage bins), you may have to cut a plank down to fit.  Mine came out to exactly 4 planks.

*Leave a small space between each plank to allow for wood movement.  I used a 1/8″ thick washer to ensure spacing was even.

Step  4:

Add a shelf that will hold the bin by the lip around the edges allowing it to hang.  Make sure to leave enough space for your bins to slide in and out easily.  I used a 1 1/2″ scrap to ensure equal spacing.

Step 5:

Assemble inner dividers with previously cut 1×6’s and 1×2’s.  I only used two planks for the inner dividers since they won’t be seen.

Step 6:

These inner dividers will hold bins on both sides so you have to create that “shelf” on both sides.

Now you should have 2 sides and 2 dividers.

Step 7:

Attach sides 1 and divider 1 with 1×2 with 1 3/4″ screws after determining how far apart they need to be to hold your storage bin.

This 1×3 is your back apron and it will extend the full length of the recycling sorter.  It’s easiest to estimate how long you think this should be and then cut it way longer than that.  Then trim once the sorter is built.

Step 8:

Attach a 1×2 across the back at the bottom and across the front at the top.

Step 9:

Attach next divider and final side to front and back aprons and bottom piece.

Step 10:

Determine how wide your lids need to be in order to close making sure each will rest on top of wood on either side but at the same time you don’t want them too snug or they will get in each other’s way when you’re trying to open and close them.


Step 11:

After the lids are sized, screw them together with 1 1/4″ wood screws and 1×2.  You’ll need to put two screws into couple planks to make sure the lid can’t “rack” = push out of square.

Step 12:

Build up the back to give your lids a slight slope.  I simple stacked 1×2’s as shown below.

Step 13:

Attach hinges as directed by the hinges you decide to buy.

Step 14:

Add braces inside the bottom front.  I’m putting a front across the entire sorter so I want to hold the dividers and sides together but don’t want an “apron” across the front.

Step 15:

Build front panel.  You could use either 1×2’s or 1×3’s here.  I used 1×3’s.  Use 1 1/4″ screws to secure as many planks as it takes to fit across the front of your sorter.

Step 16:

The front panel is just going to sit in place for easy access to remove the bins when it’s time to take the recycling in but needs to be secured so it doesn’t fall over.  I used small blocks of wood, screws and washers to create a latch.  I put one latch on the left and right of the sorter.

Put a 3″ screw through a washer in front and back of your block of wood and secure into the sorter.  Make sure the latch can move when you want it to but is tight enough to stay put.

Step 17:

Secure Scotch Outdoor Fastener to lids to keep them shut unless YOU want to open them.  We have wild critters running ’round these parts and by golly if they aren’t smart.

To make sure you get the Scotch fastener secured in the right spot on both parts follow these tips:  Secure both sides of fasteners together and then cut to size.  Pull backing off one side and attach to the front apron.  Then remove backing off second piece and close the lid.  Presto!  The fastener will stick to the lid in exactly the right place.

*Disclaimer — the instructions on the package says that this works best of finished surfaces!  I’m going rogue and putting it on bare wood.

All that’s left is to slide in your bins and you are complete with your very own recycling sorter! Step back and admire your hard work.

* I  also want to point out that left unfinished, this wood will swell when it rains so make sure that you take that into consideration when you are building your lids. Leave enough space to allow for that…or finish your wood with an exterior finish to protect it from the elements to eliminate most of that movement.

 via  sawdustgirl