• Reusable shopping bags — Eco-Cycle recommends the ChicoBag because it is made from 99 percent recycled materials and because plastic shopping bags are bad for the environment when they are manufactured and disposed of improperly.
• Sturdy and safe food containers — Instead of those restaurant to-go containers, which are often made out of hazard-laden and unrecyclable Styrofoam, bring along reusable containers like To-Go Ware stackable “tiffins.”
• Reusable coffee mug — Stainless steel and porcelain ones are the preferred alternative to unrecycled and unrecyclable paper cups, and they won’t leach potentially harmful chemicals into your drinks.
• Reusable water bottle —
Again, stainless steel — or a “safe” plastic like #1, #2, #4 or #5 — is
preferable to singleuse bottles of water, which lead to massive waste in both their production (17 million barrels of oil a year) and disposal
(only 20 percent are recycled).
• Reusable utensils and cloth napkins — It’s better to bring your own than to be part of the 40 billion non-recyclable, petroleum-based plastic forks, spoons and knives used every year in the U.S. Plus, single-use napkins and wooden chopsticks put even more pressure on our forests.
To purchase many of the reusable items listed above, visit Eco-Cycle’s Eco-Store at www.ecocycle.org/ecostore.