Now that we all know how bad plastic is for oceans, water sources, and animals, what can we do? This is the start of a series on how two NoDa residents, Susan Plante and Nicole Peterson, are trying to reduce the amount of plastics they use.
The problem is that plastics are everywhere! Try buying food without plastic … or soap … or even clothes. This issue goes way beyond straws and plastic bags. While we know we can’t get rid of all plastics in our lives, we definitely want to try to reduce what we use.
But like many people, we were not sure where to start. Luckily, Susan’s sister Becca Bellamy has become really good at going low-plastic. And we can google pretty well.
While we know that we may not get rid of all the plastics in our lives, we’re happy to try and to write about what we’re doing and even the struggles we have. We hope you’ll join us in the journey and maybe learn a few tricks for reducing your own plastics. Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.
As a starting place, we know that some plastics can be recycled, which decreases the chances they’ll end up in the environment. However, Charlotte recently changed its recycling policies to accept fewer recyclable items. We were really confused about why they would accept less, and what they accept now.
What you can put loose in your green bin (after removing any food residue):
- Plastic: bottles, jugs, and tubs with caps and lids, empty deodorant containers, egg cartons
- Paper: mail, toilet paper rolls, cardboard (in small pieces), paper, clean pizza and food boxes, juice and milk cartons, egg cartons
- Glass jars and bottles
- Aluminum or tin cans and empty aerosol cans
Wish-cycling is what we wish we could recycle—even if it has a recycling symbol on it, we can’t just put it in the bin. These items actually clog up the system and make it less likely recycling happens.
What you can’t include (wish-cycling items):
- Plastic bags and wrapping (take these to grocery stores and other places that have bag or #4 recycling)
- Styrofoam or clamshells
- Shredded paper, paper plates, cups, napkins, and tissue
- Household glass (like lightbulbs)
- Ceramics (like plates)
- Clothes, food, wire hangers, scrap metal, cords and hoses
Unsure? Check out the Waste Wizard!
So, what do we do with what we can’t include? Some grocery stores accept different plastics and items – here’s what we’ve found:
- Plastics #5 – Whole Foods is part of the Gimme 5 program (but check with your local store)
- Plastic plant trays, pots, and tags: Lowe’s
- Plastic bags: Lowe’s, Best Buy, Food Lion, Harris Teeter
- Electronics and appliances: Donate, Best Buy will take these plus ink and toner, movies and music, or County recycling centers
- Batteries: Best Buy, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Home Depot(rechargeable only), Lowe’s (rechargeable only), County recycling centers
- Lightbulbs: Batteries Plus Bulbs, Home Depot (CFL only), Lowe’s (CFL only),
- Scrap metal recycling: lots of places you can google
- Oil, paint, tires, and more: County recycling centers
If we’ve missed something, tell us where you’ve found to recycle items.
FOR More info:
- Mecklenburg County Recycling Program
- The Charlotte Observer has some great details and videos on recycling in Charlotte HERE!