Love your stuff

Your decisions matter. Shop smart and love the stuff you have to reduce waste.

Shop smart

avoid plastics, reduce pollution

Single-use plastics are bad for people and the environment.  

  • Plastics release toxins at every stage of their life. Exposure to plastics can affect many human organ systems and cause several types of cancer.   
  • Plastics can break off into micro-plastics when introduced in the environment. Micro-plastics pollute our ecosystems and harm wildlife.  
  • Most plastics are not made to be recycled. Only nine percent of all plastic ever produced is recycled. This includes all plastic items from car parts to beverage containers.   

Use your buying power and shop smart. Say no to plastic by choosing alternatives to plastic. Support companies who are not putting your health and our environment at risk. Hold single-use plastic companies responsible for harmful, commonly littered items. #LoveYourStuffMPLS

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Love your stuff

Switch to reusable

From bags to toys and household goods, plastics have only been around for the past 50 years. Our grandparents lived fine without them. Their health and our environment wasn’t affected by the manufacturing, use and disposal of plastics. Commit to switching one single-use plastic item in your home to a reusable alternative. 

Examples include: 

  • Sandwich bags 
  • Cling-wrap 
  • Food storage containers  

Your small action, plus the small actions of your friends, family and neighbors really adds up. Share a reusable alternative that you can’t live without! #LoveYourStuffMPLS 

Reduce waste

Buy it once.

Approximately 1,500 single-use bottles of water are consumed in the US each second. Of those, only one in five is recycled. A reusable bottle can  

  • Displace thousands of bottles of water in its lifetime
  • Stop the health and environmental impacts related to manufacturing, use and disposal

Commit to taking one small step to reduce reliance on single-use plastics. Pledge to give up one plastic item in July. After you've mastered that change, pick another item to work on. #LoveYourStuffMPLS

Plastic making (manufacturing)

Single-use plastics have only been around for 50 years, yet they have inundated even the most remote parts of our planet, and research shows their usage may exponentially increase in the future. How you choose to spend your money sends a signal to manufacturers. Use your buying power to purchase items with little to no plastic packaging and buy durable non-plastic items. Send an even stronger message by contacting manufacturers to let them know you do not support the use of single-use plastics and that they must change to show they value our health and environment. 

Learn more about the impacts of environmental and health impacts of manufacturing and disposal of plastics and what you can do to reduce waste below.

Manufacturing of plastics

Plastics that may only be in use for a couple of minutes (ex. water bottles, silverware, etc.) release toxins at every stage of their lifecycle. Over 99% of plastics are made from oil, a non-renewable resource. The extraction of oil has detrimental impacts on the environment and for those living near oil drilling sites, refineries, and manufacturing facilities. Oil and plastics production facilities are often located in lower income and Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities, making them not only a health and environmental issue, but also an environmental justice issue. Residents living near these communities experience higher rates of cancer, upper respiratory diseases and asthma. The Love Your Stuff campaign aims to provide the necessary information to understand the issues and encourages your support in addressing them. Learn more about manufacturing impacts of plastics on people and our environment.

  • The extraction of oil to make plastics releases toxic substances into the air, on our lands, and in our water. Over 170+ chemicals used in fracking – a necessary step to mining for oil - cause skin and eye irritation and damage to the human liver and brain, and cause respiratory, nervous, and gastro intestinal issues. Plastics continue to release toxic chemicals by leaching into food during the use phase and release pollutants when disposed. (Source: Plastic Pollution Coalition)
  • Nearly 18,500 plastics manufacturing facilities in US. (Source: American Electric Power)
  • There are now 30 large petrochemical plants within 10 miles of the small community of St. Gabriel, Georgia. Residents living in the area known as “Cancer Alley”, an 85 mile stretch along the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico, suffer from high rates of cancer, upper respiratory diseases, asthma, and more from living next to petrochemical plants. Out of every ten houses, at least one person has had a family member die of cancer. (Source: ProPublica)
  • 1,500 water bottles are consumed per second in the U.S. It takes three times the amount of water to manufacture a water bottle than it does to fill it. Seventeen million barrels of oil are used each year to produce the 50 billion water bottles made each year – that’s enough oil to fuel a million cars for a year. (Source: Huffington Post)
  • Americans use 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year and 2.5 million plastic bottles each hour. (Source: National Resource Defense Council)

Disposal of plastics

Recent news stories have shared that less than 10% of plastics ever produced have been recycled. This statistic is referring to all types of plastics (auto parts, medical items, home furnishings, food and beverage containers), not just the items that can easily be recycled like plastic bottles and jars (#1, #2, #5). Regardless, reliance on single-use plastics has detrimental impacts to the environment. Plastics that are recyclable, rarely are able to be recycled back into the same product (unlike glass bottles or aluminum cans). Instead, they are downgraded to other items like plastic lumber that are often not recyclable at the end of their life.

Plastics have altered our ecosystem. Littered in a park, on the street or on a beach, single-use plastics can take up to 400 years to break down. Placed in a landfill, plastics that are not able to be recycled end up littered, burned for energy, or put in a landfill where they never degrade. Here are some additional facts on issues associated with the disposal of plastics.

  • The average American throws away 185 pounds of plastic each year. (Source: EcoWatch)
  • Plastics littered in the environment fragment into microplastics. In the environment, fish, birds and animals confuse microplastics as food. Plastic has been found in the stomachs of over 90% of seabirds tested and 100% of sea turtles. Scientists estimate that, by weight, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. (Source: Natural Resources Defense Council)
  • New research estimates that without an average of 8.8 million tons of plastic flow into oceans each year. This equates to one dump truck full of plastic emptying directly into the ocean every minute every day for a year. (Source: National Geographic)
  • In 2016, researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology estimate that nearly 22 million pounds of plastic debris enter the Great Lakes from the U.S. and Canada each year. Half of the plastic is going into Lake Michigan, followed by Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The amount of plastic in Lake Michigan equates to 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of plastic bottles. (Source: WasteDive, Science Daily)
  • Plastic manufacturers used advertising to market plastics as a viable alternative to aluminum, steel, and glass packaging. At the same time they were developing and promoting the recyclability of plastics, they also acknowledged that making new plastics from recycled materials may never be economically feasible. This is due to the low cost of oil needed to manufacture plastics from raw materials and the fact that most plastics are down-cycled to other products. (Source: NPR)

What you can do

  • Evaluate your plastic usage. Just because plastics #1, #2, and #5 are recyclable in your curbside recycling bin, doesn’t mean we should be using them.
  • Start with one small change – whether it’s a water bottle, reusable shopping bag, reusable produce bags, reusable cling wrap or sandwich bags, switch to glass or metal leftover containers, etc.
  • Actively look for items with no to little packaging, and choose products in glass or metal packaging over plastic.
  • Say no to straws and plastic utensils from restaurants.
  • Contact manufacturers and voice your concerns over plastic usage and their packaging decisions and support legislation that holds manufacturers accountable for the plastic products they produce.
Three solid waste and recycling interns standing next to recycling and organics carts

Make a difference in your community

Become a recycling block leader and help your neighbors reduce waste, reuse, recycle and compost.

Contact us

Solid Waste & Recycling

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Phone

612-673-2917

Address

Eastside Maintenance Facility

2635 University Ave NE

Minneapolis, MN 55418

Office hours

8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Monday – Friday

This building is closed to the public.