What are single-use plastics, macro-plastics and microplastics?
Single-use plastics: goods that are meant to be disposed of right after use, typically within minutes after using. Very commonly used for packaging and serviceware, such as bags, polystyrene (Styrofoam), to-go containers and accessory items like straws, utensils, and stirrers.
Macro-plastics: plastic particles (or products) larger than 5mm, including but not limited to single-use plastic items such as grocery bags, cups, take-out containers, etc.
Micro-plastics: small plastic particles that are less than 5 millimeters in size and can include both visible and microscopic particles and fibers. These plastics originate from a variety of sources, including car tires, road markings, litter, personal care products, synthetic textiles and clothing, among others.
Resident Actions: How can I reduce the amount of single-use plastic I use?
Even during the pandemic, there are many ways to take action in your home and reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use. Check out this list to explore tips to reduce single-use plastic in your home.
Business Actions: How can my business reduce the amount of single-use plastic trash it generates?
There are many ways local businesses can take action to reduce the amount of single-use plastics they generate, like asking customers to opt into plastic utensils and ordering supplies in bulk. Click here to learn more on where to start and to get ideas for how to take action
Is it ok to use my reusable bags, mugs and cups right now?
Businesses are responding in various ways to reusables during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many grocery stores are allowing you to bag your own groceries or bag your groceries at your car with your own reusable bags. Some restaurants and coffee shops in town may have suspended their reusable cup/mug policies. Check with your local businesses to see how they are approaching reusables right now. Always make sure your reusable bags, mugs, and cups are clean and sanitized before using them.
Why can’t I just recycle my single-use plastic items?
Not all plastic can be recycled, and recycling guidelines often vary from city to city. These nonrecyclable plastics include the vast majority of single-use plastic items such as plastic straws, plastic utensils, plastic party cups and plastic take-out containers.
The only plastic items that can be recycled locally in curbside recycling are plastic bottles, jugs and tubs. Bottles include soda or water bottles, and shampoo bottles. Jugs include plastic milk jugs and plastic laundry jugs. Tubs include the solid white dairy tubs like yogurt or sour cream containers, as well as translucent tubs commonly used in delis or in takeout for soups.
Learn more about which plastics can be recycled locally
Can’t plastic bags be recycled?
Plastic grocery bags can be recycled, but NOT in your curbside recycling bin. They can be recycled at special drop-off locations locally, including at most grocery stores and the City’s Timberline Recycling Center.
Plastic bags SHOULD NEVER be placed in curbside recycling or be used to bag recyclable items before placing them in your bin. Plastic bags and plastic film cause major issues at recycling sorting plants, tangling in recycling equipment and causing it to jam and break.
Learn more here