How to reduce waste at home | CU Boulder Today – CU Boulder Today

Our habits have changed now that we are spending more time at home, and there are things we can do to reduce, reuse and recycle now. Here are some tips for saving money and resources at home. 

DIY face mask

Wearing a face covering is crucial to preventing illness, and you can make one yourself using things you’ll find around your house. Learn how to make your own CDC-approved face mask. 

Bundle deliveries

When buying online, choose the “bundle deliveries” option when it’s offered to cut down on the packaging used and shipping costs. Consider combining orders with others in your household if you’re ordering from the same online stores.

Packaging materials

If you have more packages showing up at your door these days,here’s what you can do with boxes, envelopes and other materials.

  • Cardboard boxes should be flattened and placed in your recycling bin. 
  • Some shipping envelopes are recyclable, and others are not. Recyclable envelopes include craft (orange in color) with no padding, standard white envelopes and paperboard envelopes. 
  • Other envelopes, like plastic bubble wrap envelopes, can only be recycled at special facilities. If you’re in the Boulder area, you can take these items to CHaRM (Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials). CHaRM is also able to recycle some of the materials you find inside your packages, like bubble wrap and plastic wrap. 
  • Block styrofoam can be recycled at CHaRM, and packing peanuts can be brought to CHaRM for reuse. 

Learn more about what packaging materials you can and can’t recycle.

Food and beverage containers

There can be some confusion about what is recyclable when it comes to grocery store items. Here are a few tips for recycling in Boulder County. 

  • You can recycle all plastics labelled PLA 1 through PLA 6 in your home recycling bins. Clean plastic items as best you can. 
  • Remove metal lids from glass bottles and jars and put both in the recycling bin. 
  • Give paper cartons and Tetra Paks (like soup and nut milk cartons) a quick rinse before recycling.
  • Aluminum and steel cans are almost infinitely recyclable! Clean and place them in your recycling bin. 
  • Clean plastic bags can be bundled and recycled at participating grocery stores or at CHaRM. Most frozen food boxes are not recyclable and should go into your landfill bin.

If you’re not in Boulder County, check your local recycling guidelines.

Food waste

Before grocery shopping, take inventory of what groceries you have to avoid buying more than you need. To help use up items before they expire, try an app like SuperCook to find recipes with ingredients you already have. Get creative with your groceries and have some fun in the kitchen! 

Takeout containers

You can recycle or reuse most of your takeout containers. With paper takeout boxes, check to see if they are compostable (no plastic lining). Otherwise, they go into the landfill. Styrofoam containers are another non-recyclable. Recyclable takeout materials include:

  • Aluminum foil: Crumple into a ball two inches or larger.
  • Pizza boxes: Empty and flatten (if the bottom is too greasy, remove and recycle the top half).
  • Plastic soup containers: Clean out and recycle or reuse.

Sustainable Buffs is a series brought to you by the Environmental Center. Learn more sustainability tips and ways to get involved at colorado.edu/ecenter.