Did You Know?

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists; Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot digest (Source). With major American holidays such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day around the corner, families will be preparing for hosting cookouts and parties. While planning for your celebrations, take into consideration your local recycling options for disposable plastic dinnerware items you purchase – such as plates, cups and cutlery. The best thing you can do is stop purchasing and refuse single use and disposable plastics.

Plastic cutlery, plates, and straws may be made from plastic but they are not wanted in your recycle cart. The types of plastic they are made from, the potential for food contamination, and their small size all make them not ideal for recycling. The best option is to use durable dinnerware and say no to a straw whenever possible.

The Hamm Material Recovery Facility (MRF), where the City’s recycling goes for sorting, does not accept plastic OR paper disposable plates, plastic cutlery or straws for recycling. As a rule of thumb, the MRF accepts plastic containers marked with recycling symbols #1 through #7 (bottle, tubs, and jars). Additionally, the small and non-conforming sizes of plastic straws and cutlery do not align with the MRF’s sizing requirements for sorting. If you compost at home, paper plates, napkins and paper towels can all go into your compost bin. If you must use disposable dinnerware at parties, consider washing and reusing these items as much as possible.

Your best bet to reduce waste from your celebrations is to go reusable as much as possible – use your existing ceramic, glass, metal, and rigid plastic dinnerware. Using these reusable materials that can be washed and reused may not save you time, but it will save space in your trashcan and money in your wallet.

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Staff are happy to help you brainstorm ways to make your next celebration as ‘zero waste’ as possible. Contact us with questions at 832-3030 or recycling@lawrenceks.org.


** Want to read more tips? View previous Did You Know articles here! **