Some plastics are “hidden” because they don’t look like traditional plastic products. These include to-go coffee cups, plastic-coated paper plates, paper take-out boxes, and sugar packets used by many every day. These hidden plastics are most often not recyclable due to the mixing of two very different materials; for example, paper and plastic.

Polystyrene, often called by its brand name Styrofoam , is in this mix of "hidden" plastics too because people don’t always realize that this soft and fluffy stuff is really plastic.

Our Week 4 Challenge is to find out where HIDDEN PLASTICS are lurking in your life!
Throughout the month of May, mention you are taking Eco-Cycle's Reduce Your Plastic Use Challenge , and receive 10% off your purchase at Refill Revolution !
Most paper plates and cups used at parties are coated with a thin layer of plastic to make them moisture-proof. Not only does this make them not recyclable , it also makes them a detriment to compost . When plastic-coated items are tossed into a compost bin, the plastic film coating breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces. These microplastics contaminate compost and enter soil and water ways.

The next time you're planning a party (like this Memorial Day weekend!) take the reusables route! Gather up washable plates and serve drinks that come in recyclable glass bottles or aluminum cans. Or, stock up on certified compostable plates and cups, now available at many grocery stores.
Remember back in Week One you started a Zero Waste on-the-go kit? This week, make sure it includes a reusable container you can bring with you when dining away from home.

Some sustainability-minded restaurants have BPI-certified compostable take-out containers, which can be tossed into your curbside compost bin. But m ost often, restaurant take-out containers are made of foam or plastic-coated paper, which are not recyclable or compostable. Some restaurants offer recyclable aluminum take-out pans, but the flat lids that come with them are coated with plastic and belong in the trash. But it's easy to b ring a reusable container to tote that salad or Thai food home and avoid take-out boxes altogether!
Whether you call it Styrofoam, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), or #6 expanded plastic, this stuff can be hard to avoid. In certain forms, like "block" foam that is often used to pad electronics in boxes, this material can be recycled, just not in your regular recycling. Try searching Earth 911 for recycling options near you.

Styrofoam cups, plates, or clamshells are typically not recyclable so bring your Zero Waste to-go kit with you so that you can refuse the foam!
Ask a restaurant to reduce it's plastic use by offering compostable take-out containers.
Toting our own to-go containers with us is best, but inevitably we'll get caught without it! This week's bonus challenge is to email, call, write a letter, or just mention in-person at one of your favorite restaurants that you would be thrilled to have non-plastic take-out options when you dine out.

 P.S. – Have a favorite restaurant that doesn't use plastic? Join our Reduce Your Plastic Use Challenge Facebook group and tell us where!

Week Four Giveaway

A Zero Waste to-go kit isn't complete without a plastic-free food container! This week, we'll give away three stainless steel containers to make disposable take-out containers a thing of the past!
Eco-Cy cle is a 501(c)(3) nonp rofit social enterprise. All revenues generated are invested in programs to advance Zero Waste communities in Colorado.
Questions? Contact us!