Packaging can be extremely helpful for a parent packing lunches but it can also be a waste of plastic. Be thoughtful when buying items and try to buy in bulk or with less packaging when you can. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated 33 million tons of plastics in 2014, about 13 percent of the waste stream. Only 9.5 percent of plastics were recycled in 2013. Some types of plastics are recycled much more than others. Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. In Gunnison at the recycling center at 911 South 10th Street you can leave #1 and #1 plastic only, but in Crested Butte and Mt Crested Butte plastic items labeled #1-7 may be recycled. Exceptions include plastic bags and Styrofoam and other items identified on the town’s recycling websites. When you purchase plastic items, look for those made from recycled plastic materials and use plastic sparingly.