What is your plastic footprint?

Earth Day 2019 It's in your hands

Ever feel like you need a PhD to recycle correctly? Here’s a trick for the next time you are about to put plastic in the curbside cart: look for a neck and a number. Accepted plastics are easily identified by their narrow “neck” as seen on a bottle of water, shampoo or detergent. Look closely and you’ll see a number printed on the bottom too – ensure that it’s not #6 and you can confidently recycle that plastic curbside.

Recyclable plastic bottles

What about all the other plastics without a neck or a number? Plastic bags, packaging, case wraps, disposable cutlery, straws, plates and cups cannot be put in the recycle cart. Avoid the temptation to “wishcycle” them – placing them in the recycling bin in the hope that they’ll magically be recycled. Limited markets and sorting technology for recyclables dictate which items are accepted.

Instead seek out a special local recycling opportunity for these other items. Plastic bags and films get tangled in the sorting machinery at the recycling facility, but they CAN be recycled at local grocery stores. Check out all the kinds of film that can be recycled this way – chances are if it stretches it can be recycled.

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Although very important, recycling isn’t the only tool we have to fight plastic pollution. When it comes to disposable items, reducing dependence on single-use plastics and packaging is the key.

Tips to reduce plastic waste:

  • Bring your own reusable tote bags, produce or bulk bags, travel mugs, stainless steel straws, reusable cutlery and water bottles.
  • Purchase products with less packaging such as loose produce and bulk dry goods.
  • Recycle right. Get familiar with what is accepted in your curbside cart and local opportunities for other items.

In the spirit of Earth Day, consider taking an inventory of how much single-use plastic you generate and choose to reduce. EarthDay.org has plastic pollution footprint calculators and an action guide to get you started. For an interesting look at the rise and proliferation of plastics check out this article in the April edition of The Woodlands Community Magazine.

For more information on recycling and waste minimization, contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services at enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or 281-210-3800.

World Ocean Day: Pledge to use less plastic

Copy of How will you celebrate

Summer is sizzling and has some of us grabbing our gear for a weekend beach trip! Many feel a natural connection to the ocean as it covers 70% of our planet, houses fascinating marine life, and connects us all.

June 8th is World Ocean Day reminding us to celebrate the many wonders of our aquatic frontier.

This year’s focus is a call to action on plastic pollution. You may have seen the unsettling images of sea life fatalities; our plastics are reaching new shores that have never seen pollution before.  Now is the time to address the issue before we create a world of plastic beaches.

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Plastics are synthetic organic polymers created with petroleum. They are so long lasting that all the plastic that has ever been created still exists today, yet industries create more every day. Most marine plastics originate on land as litter. Once they enter our waters, plastics entangle marine life or erode into smaller particles that are then ingested. Every piece of litter we pick up on land helps the ocean and the life within.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today“

Abraham Lincoln

 

Let’s answer the call to action for our oceans!

Here’s how we can start making a difference:

  1. Coordinate your own cleanup
    • Bring a bucket for treasures and a bucket for trash – recycle what you can
    • Leave no trace – leave only footprints behind
  2. Support an organization
    • There are many groups forming their own cleanups. Become involved or consider making a donation.
  3. Not able to make it to the shoreline? There’s plenty you can do at home:
    • Reduce packaging when grocery shopping
    • Reuse as much as you canbring your own bags or bottles
    • Recycle right – stay up to date on your local municipality’s recycling guidelines
    • Refuse single use plastics such as straws, bags and cutlery