There is a lot you can do every day to reduce your waste and Rethink your relationship to your stuff. Here are a few for you to ponder:
1.) Say no thanks to single-use utensils and paper napkins with your take out!
If you order food for delivery, ask the restaurant to hold the disposable silverware and napkins and use your own at home. Since delivery is on the rise because of the COVID epidemic, that means more single-use disposables are ending up in the trash. Do your part by using reusables!
And if you order from an app, let them know!
2.) Sign up for Loop to reduce new container purchasing and reuse the existing ones.
Have you checked out TerraCycle’s Loop shop? You can buy your consumable products in a reusable container that you return for a refill. The products are currently available online, but Loop has partnered with some brick and mortar stores to offer a reusable experience without the shipping.
The pandemic seems to be helping Loop grow even faster since people aren’t shopping in stores as much. And more and more big-name brands are getting on board the Loop train. Have you tried Loop? What do you think?
3.) Love your clothes til the very end of their life.
Ok well, this one is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle all in one. Did you know it takes 1,500 gallons of water to manufacture just one T-shirt and pair of jeans? So let’s keep those jeans that you loved SO much out of the landfill. How?
Here 3 ideas:
- Buy clothes that are either second hand or well made so they last longer
- Turn older pants into shorts!
- Sew the cut legs into a reusable bag.
- Too loved to wear? You can also recycle them into building insulation: Recycling with Zappos
Reduce – Wasted Food
4.) Refresh your floppy carrots, don’t toss them!
Have you ever experienced squishy, flaccid carrots from leaving them in the fridge for too long? Do this to your carrots to crisp them back up: simply place them in a glass of water!
You can get more food waste prevention tips here.
5.) Preserve your food.
Food preservation is amazing:
- It prevents wasted food
- It makes GREAT homemade gifts
- It can be a creative outlet!
Check out this long and thorough list of how to preserve different all different kinds of food through canning, pickling, drying, and more! Thanks, Oregon State University Extension Service!!
6.) Make reusable “water balloons”!
During HOT summer months, how about a good old fashioned water balloon fight to keep cool and have some playtime? Watch these kiddos toss over and over and over because…here’s the kicker: Reuseable “Water Balloons”!
Why? Less waste, fewer bits of microplastics entering the environment in our parks, gardens, and waterways. Plus, a good activity to put them together with the kiddos?
Here’s what you need:
- Something to tie them with (string, rubber bands, zip ties)
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut sponges into strips
- Stack them on top of each other
- Tie together: tada!
- Here‘s a how-to video if you need more
Another method on the interwebs if you have some yarn and crochet hooks. Google it, test it out, let me know how it goes!
7.) Recycle cardboard: break it down, put it in the bin, and keep it clean and dry.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is less recyclable corrugated cardboard sent to be recycled because the suppliers (mainly large commercial entities with big cardboard recycling collection programs) are not selling as many wares.
Meanwhile, the residential sector is ordering more for online delivery and receiving more packages that can be recycled.
Rachel Kenyon, senior vice president for the Fibre Box Association said, “When commercial collections stalled because of COVID-19 shutdowns, the corrugated industry recognized the need to encourage greater residential recycling,” she said, adding the industry “needs clean, dry corrugated to ensure we maintain our balanced system.”
8.) Plastic lids are not recyclable in Deschutes County.
Q – Why aren’t plastic lids recyclable?
A – Your curbside commingled recyclables are collected, baled, and taken to a Materials Recovery Facility — in Deschutes County’s case: to Portland. There, thousands of pounds of mixed materials are poured onto conveyor belts and physically sorted by hand and sometimes by robots. Because of the massive quantities of materials, it is difficult to efficiently and effectively sort small pieces. Also, the small lids can get caught in the gears of the conveyor belts.
Flat plastic lids like those from yogurt tubs can get caught between stacks of paper on those conveyor belts and cause contamination.
And as for why we don’t just keep the caps attached to the bottles so they don’t get lost in the conveyor belts? When the materials are baled before shipping, they are compressed to save space on the trucks. That compression will cause bottles with lids to explode which can be harmful to workers in the facility — little bottle cap rockets shooting who knows which way.
SO: please toss your plastic lids in the trash!
9.) Put your receipts in the trash.
Did you know most receipts are NOT recyclable? This is because most are printed using thermal paper that contains a toxic chemical called BPA (and sometimes, even if it’s BPA free, it could contain BPS). There is no good way to tell whether or not the paper is thermal or not, so it’s best to toss your receipts in the garbage. Also, it’s probably best if you don’t lick them.
Here are a couple other tips for Deschutes County recycling:
- We do NOT recycle by number here. Just because it has a recycling symbol on it does not mean it is recyclable.
- Clamshells, paper coffee cups, and plastic (both petroleum and compostable) cups are also not recyclable here.
- Curious about what else is and isn’t recyclable? Learn more here.
10.) We do NOT “recycle by number” in Deschutes County.
Did you know we do NOT “recycle by number” in Deschutes County? The universal recycling symbol is deceiving because it does not mean something is recyclable. The numbers tell us what kind the chemical composition of the plastic. While they do recycle by number in some places, not in here!
What plastics are accepted curbside here? Bottles, tubs, and jugs — no lids. Not sure if your item can go in? Ask us! Or throw it out. It’s more important than ever not to contaminate the recycling.