Are you a Sorta?

Aug 11

Black Plastic

Posted on August 11, 2022 at 9:33 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey


Description automatically generated with medium confidenceIn general, black plastic cannot be recycled, yet 63% of Americans believe that it can be. Although sometimes labeled with a recycling symbol, or even the numbers “1” and “2”, black plastic is generally not recycled in New York State.

Here’s why:

1.            Black plastics blend in with conveyor belts and do not reflect light which means that they cannot be identified and sorted by the optical scanners used at recycling facilities.

2.            There is currently no market for recycled black plastic. Black plastic cannot be recycled into any other color plastic which decreases its value as a material.

Not only is black plastic tricky to recycle but it can also be a threat to our health. A great deal of black plastic is manufactured using electronic waste or e-waste. E-waste often contains toxic elements such as bromine, chromium, and lead. This can be troubling for humans especially if e-waste is being recycled into items that we come into close contact with, such as single-use food packaging, like to-go containers and coffee cup lids. The next time you come across black plastic, consider how you can avoid it.


Where we see black plastic:



What we can use instead:


Drink Stirrers

Wooden Stirrers, Metal Spoon


Reusable Utensils 

Coffee Cup Lids

Reusable Mug


Bamboo Hairbrush

Coffee Pods

Reusable Coffee Pods

Plant Pots

Glass or Ceramic plant pots

Clothing Hangers

Wooden Hangers 


Adapted from @RecycleRightNY resources.

Jul 26

Host a single-use plastic free event this summer.

Posted on July 26, 2022 at 9:35 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

Plastic Free Week 4Have you already eliminated most single-use plastics in your day-to-day life? Try taking your plastic free challenge to the next level and hosting low waste events that are single-use plastic free.

Swapping balloons and other single-use plastic party decorations for reusable and eco alternatives is a great way to reduce your impact and inspire others to do the same. Homemade decorations can save money and the resources needed to manufacture and transport them. They can also be reused over and over. Some ideas include bunting, tassels, and tissue pom poms. You can use scrap fabric, scrap paper, newspaper, tissue paper, or children’s artwork to create decorations. You can also use lanterns, fresh flowers, string lights, and more for many occasions. Friends and neighbors are a great source of reusable decorations or materials for that homemade creation. Before buying anything, simply put the word out and see what you can borrow.

Want to send guests home with a favor or goodie bag? Choose options like art supplies (crayons, chalk, colored pencils), games (cards, dice, dominoes), seeds, plants, secondhand books, or homemade playdough. Don’t forget to think outside the box when it comes to packaging your goodies. Try using secondhand baskets or bags or consider making your own. Glass jars can be decorated and work well for a variety of items too.

Jul 21

Reducing Plastic Waste in the Kitchen

Posted on July 21, 2022 at 11:47 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

Plastic Free Week 3The kitchen is probably the area in your house that you produce the most plastic waste. This makes it a great place to start when looking to reduce. Food storage can be a source of plastic waste in the kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be. One item that can easily be eliminated is plastic wrap. Consider investing in some beeswax wraps. These can be used over and over again to cover bowls, wrap up a piece of cheese, and to store produce or baked goods. While there is an upfront cost, there is a cost savings over time because you do not have to purchase and pay to dispose of plastic wrap. Beeswax has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as being breathable which helps to preserve food for longer. They can be cleaned with lukewarm water and mild dish soap and hung to dry.

Another low-cost investment that can save you money and disposal space over time are reusable zip top storage bags. These come in a variety of sizes and styles. Take inventory of what you use most in order to purchase exactly what you need.

Having reusable items on hand to replace single-use ones is only half the battle. The other part is changing your habits (and the others in your household) to reach for these items instead. Think creatively to encourage new habits. Can you rearrange the kitchen to put reusable options in a more convenient spot? Can you put disposable options out of the way in an inconvenient location? What about a chart for each member of the household- when they use a reusable item, they get a checkmark/sticker with a prize for whoever minimizes their waste the most? I think it would be fun to do adults versus kids too!

Even though the kitchen may be the largest source of plastic waste in your home, check online for great solutions for the bathroom and laundry room too.