Recycling Bench

Used household items, like glass bottles, aluminium and tin cans, and even paper, are far more likely to avoid ending up in a landfill site if there is a tidy place to store them between trips to the recycling collection point. This three-bin storage unit doubles up as a neat bench, and you don’t have to be a woodwork genius to put it together.

Head off to your nearest Hardware store with our materials list and get to work. When you’re finished, position your ‘recycling bench’ in a convenient place – preferably close to the kitchen – and with a little coaxing there’s a good chance that recycling will soon be a way of life in your home.

Unless specified otherwise, use Saligna wood, cut as indicated.
All measurements are in mm.
Outer boxes and structure
4 sides: 540 x 380 x 22
3 bases for ‘boxes’: 595 x 380 x 22
2 back supports: 595 x 70 x 22
8 cleats: 310 x 22 x 22
3 Masonite boards: 630 x 510 x 5
3 Meranti planks: 1945 x 144 x 22
(bench top)
Drawers and other components
3 bases: 565 x 380 x 22
3 fronts (‘doors’): 613 x 485 x 22
6 triangular side supports: 375 x 300 x 22
3 x bar handles
6 x brass folding stays
6 x brass recessed hinges
60 x full-thread screws (4 x 30)
36 x full-thread screws (3.5 x 20) for
hinges and stays
3 x Big Jim storage bins 42 l
• Meranti wood filler
• Genkem Quickset Woodweld
• Woodoc 30 Low Gloss Clear
Polywax Sealer

Tape measure, carpenter’s square, jigsaw, Skil saw, drill and 4 mm wood-drill bit, counter sinking bit, cordless screwdriver, sander, 75 mm paintbrush

Step 1:Start by putting together first one and then the other ‘outer’ box as follows: take two of the sides (540 x 380 x 22) and attach a base (595 x 380 x 22) between them, 22 mm up from the bottom. This ‘overhang’ of 22 mm forms the legs.

Step 2:Attach a back support (595 x 70 x 22) between the two inside edges, at the top of the box, then attach two cleats (370 x 22 x 22) along the inside edges (the bench top will be attached to them later). Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make the second box.

Step 3: Attach cleats to the top and bottom of the outside of the first box, on the right hand side. Repeat on the second box, on the left hand side.


Step 4: Join the two boxes by attaching the remaining base to the lower cleats on each.

Step 5: Now make up the three drawers, one-by-one. Start by attaching two triangular sides (375 x 300) to a drawer base (565 x 380 x 22)


Step 6:Attach a front ‘door’ (613 x 485 x 22) to the base and sides. There must be a 26 mm ‘overhang’ on either side of the triangle sides. Repeat steps 5 and 6 twice more, to make the second and third drawer.

Step 7: Fit a handle on each of the three doors, in the centre and 50 mm down from the top.


Step 8:Attach two recessed hinges to the bottom of each drawer door, 75 mm from the edge.


Step 9: Place a drawer into the first box, leaving the same sized gap on either side. Screw the loose side of each recessed hinge to the base of the box.


Step 10: To open and close smoothly each drawer requires a ‘folding stay’ on either end. To install, measure 180 mm from the top of the first box and 13 mm inwards from that point and attach one side of the stay (marked A) to the box at that point. Attach the other end (marked B) to the drawer front, 250 mm from the top of the door. Repeat until all 6 are attached.

Step 11: The three Meranti planks (1945 x 144 x 22) form the seat. Position them across the structure, leaving 5 mm gaps between them and an overhang of 40 mm in the front. Attach them from underneath by screwing through the cleats that were installed in step 2.

Step 12: Attach the Masonite boards to the backs of the boxes


Step 13: Fill all holes, including holes for screws, with wood filler. Sand all the surfaces until smooth then paint with three coats of Woodoc, allowing each to dry before applying the next. When completely dry, place a storage bin in each box and you’re ready to recycle!


• Be sure to sand all edges until they are completely smooth.
• For the neatest finish, countersink all the holes for the screws.
• Along with the screws, use Genkem Quickset Woodweld in all joints for extra strength.

The Gardener