What’s the takeaway on take-out?

During the pandemic, we’ve supported local restaurants by ordering lots of food to go. “Date night out” became “date night in” as our favorite eateries prepared meals for us to enjoy at home.

food packaging

Helping these businesses survive and thrive is a great way to keep our communities strong. But what should we do with all the extra take-out packaging we’ve collected? And is there any way to reduce the clutter we don’t need as we move into a summer of takeout picnics?

Take heart, take-out fans! This issue gives you all the tips you need to solve your carryout conundrums. Check inside for a full menu of what goes where—from plastic clamshells to compostable containers, we’ve got you covered.

  • Don’t take stuff you don’t need. Eating at home? Ask the restaurant not to include plastic utensils or plates with your order.
  • Be an advocate for change. Encourage your favorite spots to shift to paper-based compostable containers, if they haven’t already.
phone icon

Reader survey

What do you like most about the RecycleSmart newsletter? Are we providing useful information about recycling, composting and reducing landfill waste? How can we answer more of your questions?

Let us know at RecycleSmart.org/survey

Where it goes

people at a picnic with food containers everywhere
we eat food diagram - contact us for more information

Do you know the Muffin People?

people at a picnic with food containers everywhere

Who’s that friendly fellow carrying totes of tomatoes out of the grocery store? It’s Jack Dice, chief Muffin Man, of Moraga’s self-described Muffin People. They’ve been collecting produce, meat and other fresh food for 19 years!

This all-volunteer group picks up food donations, six days a week from the major grocery stores in Lamorinda. They then deliver the food to the St. Vincent De Paul Community Center and other local food distribution centers.

The Muffin People capture and deliver about 20 loads of donated food each week! They’re ahead of the curve in helping businesses capture edible food for recovery (like many California businesses will have to do soon under SB 1383). And it’s just because they noticed a way to help.

If you’d like to get involved, visit StMonicaMoraga.com/muffin-people for more information. Whether or not you join in, keep an eye out for their caps, and give them a high five for their efforts!

Even More about Wasting Less

Visit our Facebook page for the latest events, workshops, tips and reminders. Tell your friends, too! We post 3-4 times/week and will keep you up to date and inspired. Follow us at Facebook.com/CCCSWA.

Dr. Disposal is in!

medicine containers in medicine cabinet

I’m spring cleaning my medicine cabinet; I have expired prescriptions and over the counter medicines that I don’t need. What’s the right way to handle them?

—Nima K., Rossmoor


You can drop off expired or unused medications, even pet medications and asthma inhalers! To prepare your items:


Remove or mark out your personal information from the bottle


Recycle the plastic container(s) in your blue recycling cart


Place solid medicines, like pills and capsules, in a sealed plastic bag


Leave liquids in their original container and place bottles in a sealed plastic bag


Drop off medicines and sharps in disposal boxes at drugstores, police stations and town government buildings. A full list of sites is at RecycleSmart.org/HHW

email icon

Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Send your ideas to Authority@RecycleSmart.org


Dandelion Time

Single-use coffee cups can’t be recycled or composted because they have shiny plastic on the inside. Grab scissors, a piece of paper and contrasting paint to turn them into a fun dandelion craft.

visual steps for kids project

Cut strips halfway down the empty paper coffee cup. Continue cutting strips all the way around the cup.


Bend strips outward to make a wide flower shape.


Use a paintbrush to put paint on the inside of your flower shape (white, above).


Tap on paper in circles.


Draw stems and you’re done!


Hang it up, wrap it around a gift or fold it in half for a beautiful greeting card!

To clean up, place your used cup in the trash.