Mainers can be proud that their bottle bill promotes recycling.

Maine is only one of 10 states that mandates deposits to ensure bottles and cans are recycled. But many people don’t know the cap to the bottle should stay on, said Sarah Lakeman of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. She knows, because bottle cap litter “is all over the place.”

One of her tips to reduce plastic pollution is “leave the caps on” when recycling.

Another: Don’t release balloons into the air. “So many people let them loose to remember someone who has died, she said. But the balloons “don’t go to heaven. They go into the water,” and are too often eaten by marine animals.

Other plastic waste reduction tips from the Natural Resources Council of Maine:

  • Refuse disposable plastics every chance you get.
  • Use reusable shopping bags, preferably made of a durable and washable material.
  • Avoid buying packaged food. Glass jars or cardboard boxes are better than plastic.
  • Avoid buying beverages in plastic bottles.
  • Keep a reusable water bottle or mug with you.
  • Just say no to plastic straws.
  • Bring your own container for takeout or leftovers.
  • If you’re hosting a party, avoid disposable plastic forks, knives and spoons, cups and plates. Don’t bother with the compostable kind unless you send them to a compost facility.

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