And please start asking for “no straw.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: All of Ask Renee's columns are moving to NUVO! Here's one that first appeared online in December of 2015.

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click to enlarge Jim Poyser, the man behind the "Strawbale" - FILE PHOTO
  • Jim Poyser, the man behind the "Strawbale"
  • File photo

Renee, can you confirm what this article says???


Megan, can I? Ha, you know I can!

Mesh bags – not recyclable, but can be used to help turn a regular sponge into a scratchy one

Plastic clam shell containers – yes and no. Plastic ones, like the one with strawberries, are definitely recyclable. Foam ones are not. The fiber/paper ones are not, but you can compost them. There should never be food waste on them!

Tetra Pak containers – nope.

Plastic TV dinner trays – yes, put them in your plastic recycling.

Cereal box liners – nada.

Bags for salads and mixed greens – no ma’am.

Plastic packaging for fresh fruits and vegetables – negative.

Keurig coffee cartridges – no and STOP USING THEM!!!

Unattached bottle caps – please recycle them attached to their bottles.

Compostable bioplastics – not recyclable and fairly unlikely to compost in a home compost pile.

Boxes made of different materials – if the window is small, like the little spaghetti peek-a-boo box, then it’s fine! A box with large windows, like for donuts or a cake, should not go in the recycling.

Juice boxes and pouches – not in curbside, but check out the Terracycle Drink Pouch Brigade.

Chip bags – again, not in curbside, but Terracycle has a Brigade for that too.

Coffee cup lids – not really, but if it makes you feel better about not using a reusable mug, then you can put it in the bin. It won’t hurt anything.

Straws and plastic mixers – NO! And please start asking for “no straw.” Jim Poyser of Earth Charter Indiana recently made a strawbale (as in a bale made of actual straws) that encouraged Pizzology to change their policy on straws – they not longer put them in every drink and only offer them on request.

Piece out,


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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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