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Choose to refuse

News article

Say no to unnecessary take-out items

Published

Say no to unnecessary take-out items because these items belong in the garbage

  • Take advantage of the discounts local businesses offer for bringing your own coffee mug and reusable shopping bag.

  • For to-go orders, take only what you need.

  • If you don’t need the straw, fork, spoon, cup, condiments, containers, or a bag, say so! Hundreds of Portland restaurants and bars have switched to offering straws only upon request or asking if you need single-use items.

  • Another step to reduce single-use waste is to have what you need when you need it. Make a to-go kit for your car, day bag or bike bag that includes grocery bags, a coffee mug, silverware or small containers for leftovers.

A costly habit

Single-use items — from paper napkins and coffee cups to straws and plastic bags — have been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. We use many items for just a few minutes before throwing them away. Disposable products may provide convenience and ease at home and on the go, but they require natural resources, energy and water, which increases carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

In Portland, all plastic and paper to-go items should be tossed in the garbage.

They do not belong in the recycling or compost bins, even if they claim to be compostable.

With a little effort we can reduce the disposable stuff we throw away to prevent waste and save money.

When is “compostable” not compostable?

Items labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable” belong in the garbage. The labels are well-intentioned,but they’re not always accurate. Manyproducts that are labeled “compostable” or“biodegradable” don’t break down at our local composting facilities.

Do not put them in your recycling or compost bins.

Find more inspiration from a previous post about the 10 things you can do to reduce your waste and read a New York Times article about people trying to live plastic free (spoiler: It’s hard, but doable!).

Ready to pledge to go plastic-free in July? You can do that too!