By Bonita Davis, Master Recycler and SE Resident

Just how much can our lifestyles change in a couple of months? Apparently, a lot!

Following medical advice in response to COVID-19, I have been sheltering at home for over two months along with many others in our community. My car has barely moved.

Online grocery shopping with a hard-won pick-up time that coincides with an appointment is my new way of shopping. Now I have to do better at not over or under-buying.

Paper bags came back into my experience now that I don’t shop directly with my reusable bags. Those bags might become waste can liners, receptacles for things to donate, art paper, papier-mâché projects, gift and parcel wrap or garden mulch.

One silver lining of a stay at home order is seeing air pollution levels fall, clearer skies, less traffic and the bonus of an auto insurance rebate. My neighborhood is in full gardening and home repair mode and bikes, kids, strollers and very happy dogs fill the sidewalks.

It has been difficult to see some of my favorite neighborhood eateries be shuttered or open only for take-out. As a treat, I’ve ordered a couple of meals take out and found it is easy to avoid generating extra waste by saying no to any added packaging and not asking for the condiments and napkins. We probably already have the items at home or stashed in our vehicles or bags.

Ordering gift cards (even  for oneself) or pre-paid meals to enjoy later can be a big boost to a small business as well.

If you are accumulating extra plastics from food purchases, Agilyx Corporation, Tigard, may be able to recycle some of them.

Agilyx recycles #6 expanded polystyrene plastic, the type used to make foam products, such as coffee cups, block packaging like used in electronics packaging, meat trays and to-go containers.

They also accept rigid #6 plastics, e.g. wine taster cups, CD cases, coffee creamer shells and products marked with #6 or “PS.”

Learn about this amazing company at agilyx.com. For residential customers, the have a free, 24/7 public drop box

Is Tigard too far of a drive? A new company, GoGo Eco, will pick it up for you, based on zip code routes for a small fee. I’ve not tried it, but it might work for you. Details at gogoecopdx.com.

As Portland reopens, and I lose my restrictions, I am more than ready to support my favorite businesses, eateries, and non-profits that make Portland such a great place to live and my SE neighborhood so vibrant. Be safe!

The ability to recycle film plastic in drop off containers at your local grocery may have been disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This may be a good time to continue collecting your materials at home until collection points reopen, as soon as it is safe to do so. Stay in the loop at plasticfilmrecycling.org.