Plastics and Recycling

Oregon is rather well known as a bastion of recycling. The first state in the country to instate a bottle bill, we are a community that prides itself on being good stewards of our land. This past week the City of Lake Oswego continued that heritage by passing a restriction for single-use plastic bags. In the next year plastic shopping bags will be fazed out at stores, restaurants, and even the farmer’s market.

About 10 years ago I read the book “Moby Duck”. It’s a non-fiction narrative about a shipping container that fell of a shipping freighter in the Pacific ocean. The container was filled with multi-colored, plastic ducks, the kind that kids play with in the bath tub. A rather unique cargo, these ducks have been washing up on beaches all of the world ever since. It provided an opportunity to study plastics in the ocean and how the plastic migrates. It’s shocking.

I’ve also heard it said that as much as recycling is wise, an even better direction to go is to not use the plastic in the first place. I see the city’s ban on plastic bags as a very wise move that will be a small step in the right direction.

Speaking of recycling, correct plastic recycling is super confusing. It’s bit of a pet peeve of mine that folks don’t know what is and isn’t recyclable. Those clam shell packages for spinach and lettuce? Not recyclable at the curb. To help us all better understand what is and isn’t recyclable at the curb, here is a link to the guidelines put out by Metro, our Metro-area authority on garbage and recycling. To view the information, click here.

Particularly at the holidays, the time of year when we are at the peak of consuming and recycling, it is a good idea to be mindful of using and purchasing items that are recyclable. Good for LO for taking the initiative to curtail the use of plastic. The bags are a step in the right direction. Now can we do something about drinking straws?