Make the Swap!

Reusable bags for grocery shopping

Here in Placer County, we make recycling and disposal easy – You toss everything into your bin, and we’ll sort out the recyclables at the Western Placer Waste Management Authority (WPWMA)’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)! However, if you’re looking to make a bigger impact, there are some ways you can help us by reducing the amount of waste you create, reusing items when possible, and choosing the most recyclable items to purchase. Read on for four easy and sustainable swaps you can make today!

School Lunches

Back to school season is quickly approaching, which means packing school lunches is back as a daily chore. In preparation, we suggest ditching the plastic bags (which end up at the landfill as they are typically not recyclable) and switching to reusable containers instead. Not only are these hard containers easier to stack up in the fridge (and often leak proof!), but it also dramatically reduces the amount of plastic waste you and your family generate.

Grocery Store Shopping

We are all familiar with the question “paper or plastic?” when we’re in the checkout line at the store. We often forget there is a third, more sustainable option – “reusable!” Bringing your own grocery and produce bags to the store significantly reduces the amount of plastic waste that makes it to the WPWMA. Want free “Trash Talker” produce and grocery bags? Find the Placer Recycles booth at an upcoming community event or visit the WPWMA for a tour to get your own.

Coffee Shop

Morning coffee is essential. Sometimes afternoon coffee is too. However, when the disposable plastic coffee cups begin stacking up in your car, you know it’s time to make the swap! Bringing a reusable cup to your favorite coffee shop is a simple way to cut down on your plastic use. Additionally, coffee shops often provide a discount for customers who bring their own cups! That makes your coffee run cheaper AND better for the environment.

Dinner Time

After prepping, cooking, and eating a meal, the last thing we want to do is wash dishes. We understand it’s not always possible to utilize glass or ceramic dishes but be mindful of the disposable dishware you purchase. Many paper dishware products are not recyclable or compostable, as they are coated with a thin plastic film. Because the paper cannot easily be separated from the plastic coating, the whole item must be landfilled. When choosing dishware for your family dinners, make the swap and choose either non-coated paper products, or washable, reusable dishware. This is an easy switch that can make a positive environmental impact!

Learn More

To learn more about recycling in Placer County, visit and check out our social media @PlacerRecycles on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.