Thursday, August 2, 2012

Earth Day for Green Bin

     On Earth Day 2012  my green bin got a new liner. Thanks to an article printed in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, April 20th, we initiated a new routine, and life got a little less messy. It all started when a reader wrote a letter to the newspaper stating "I am a lazy and inconsistent recycler and worry about my carbon footprint... Like most San Franciscans, I have the requisite green recycling bucket under my sink though am never quite sure how to line it. I know I can buy mass-produced biodegradable liner bags, but buying something simply to recycle it seems backward."  In response, The Chronicle offered an alternative in honor of Earth Day— a simple origami project using the newspaper itself, which is 100 percent compostable and printed with nontoxic ink. I set to work immediately, and with the help of my husband, who is brilliant at this type of activity, we made liners galore and quickly introduced them into my green bin. Happy Earth Day Forever!
Pretty in Pink - a new origami liner ready for the green bin

Below is a photograph of the April 20, 2012 article from The San Francisco Chronicle on creating an  Earth Day origami liner for a kitchen bin, and the link to view the instructions on the SFGate website.

S. F. Chronicle instructions:

Photo of S.F. Chronicle feature

                                               Full instructions in 7 easy steps

     1. Open up the paper, remove and recycle the inside pages. Make a right triangle by folding the bottom left corner to the top edge, flattening the fold. Cut off and recycle the extra piece. Position the triangle, so the fold is at the bottom  

    2. Separate the layers at the top of the triangle and bring one side down to the bottom edge. Make a
crease; then unfold. This crease will be your guideline.

    3.  Bring the bottom left-hand corner to the right edge at the crease. Flatten the fold.

    4.  Fold the right-hand corner to the left side. Flatten the fold.

    5.  Separate the layers of newspaper at the top. Fold one side down, pressing to flatten.

    6. Turn the container over and repeat.

    7. Open the completed container and adjust to fit your countertop bin. For a stronger liner, I always double the newspaper

   After having made them for some months now, I have become totally dependent on these innovative liners. They keep the green bin clean and relativity dry, they are easy to dispose of in the compost, are fun to make, and since each on is completely different, they are often aesthetically pleasing.

Green Bin models colorful new liners
Each one is a surprise 

         We make multiple containers each session and store them under the kitchen sink, just below the green bin. It's handy to have a fresh one ready for compost every time we need one.

Extra liners stashed under the kitchen sink

Used liner, full of kitchen scraps, dumped into our large curbside bin

Featured Book:

Trash Origami, Tuttle Publishing, 2010

Michael La Fosse and Richard Alexander have written the perfect book to accompany this green bin project. After you finish making liners, you can go on to create candy wrapper butterflies, old-calendar wreaths, bracelets, or snack-bag wallets. Possibilities are endless and also eco-friendly.

Origami cranes made of candy wrappers, love letters, restaurant menus and Kleenex

These cranes were made by children in 38 countries as a fundraising effort for victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.



  1. yes, this is my dream come true! thanks for sharing.

  2. Very useful indeed. Now I can convince Deb to get the Sunday SF Chronicle again!