Make zero-waste part of your daily habits by joining the BYO movement. When you head out and about remember to “bring your own” durable item to avoid use of disposable items

Note: Some options may not be available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the additional items you can use:

Jars and Containers

  • When you go shopping, bring your own containers for bulk bin foods like nuts, spices, grains and even peanut butter. Don’t forget other items such as shampoo, liquid soap, and lotion
  • Remember to ask the store how to pre-weigh (tare) your items so the weight can be subtracted at checkout
  • Check out new businesses like Good Life Market Delivery, Mama & Hapa’s Refill Shop, Null Refillery, Simple Sundries and more in the Portland area


  • Instead of using a paper or plastic bag, bring your own reusable cloth or sturdy bag for groceries and other store purchased items at department stores.
  • You can even get a discount for every bag you avoid.
  • There are other types of bags, including veggie bags
  • Visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org to learn all the examples of stretchy plastic film (in addition to plastic grocery bags) that are accepted in free grocery store plastic film collection boxes.

Napkins and Straws

  • Tired of all the paper napkins you have leftover? Just say no, and start bringing your own with you!
  • This can include handkerchiefs, wash cloths, hand towels, and more.
  • Consider buying a metal, glass or reusable straw instead of using a single-use plastic one.
  • Compostable straws are also an option, if you have a way to compost them properly.


  • Take your reusable growler to your favorite bar or brewery, and ask them to fill it up!
  • Keep in mind that some grocery stores have growler fill ups as well
  • Click here for a list of growler fill up stations

Water Bottles

  • Drinking water is great, but if you can avoid all the plastic bottles by refilling your water bottle, you’ll keep it cooler longer, and avoid the trash.
  • Click here for more info on the benefits of switching over to reusable bottles

Refillable Beer Bottles

  • Purchase beers that are bottled in Oregon BottleDrop Refillable bottles.  They can be returned to Oregon BottleDrop with all the rest of your returnable beverage containers and they will be sorted to be washed and recirculated to beverage bottlers rather than be smashed, melted and reformed into new bottles.

Silverware and Cutlery

  • Bring your own utensils, silverware and cutlery instead of eating with those flimsy plastic ones that break easily and are not recyclable and are not allowed in curbside compost.. Check out some cool utensil bags to keep everything organized or repurpose a coin purse or pencil bag from the thrift store.
  • “No cutlery or condiments, please!”  Don’t forget when placing your order, decline any cutlery, napkins, and condiments if you don’t need them. Oftentimes these items will be discarded and not reused for other customers, so prevention is the key!
  • Bring your own chopsticks, condiment containers, and more!


  • Order your food “for here” then transfer the food into your container and take it “to go” without the packaging. Or if you have leftovers, avoid the non-recyclable “doggie bags” or to-go containers and transfer it into your container right at the table.
  • Available at sit-down restaurants, and grocery stores
  • Sign up for GO Box to receive your to-go food  in a reusable container at participating locations in Portland.
  • If reusables aren’t available for check out at your favorite eatery, let them know you’d love to be able to use that service there so that they know their customers are into that!

Cups and Mugs

  • Many places will accept your own mugs and cups for drinks, such as coffee cups, tea, smoothies, and more. You can often receive a discount, or avoid a charge!
  • Ask for the pour-in: At coffee and tea shops you can ask the barista to use the pour-in method, where they pour your drink into your cup contact-free. 
  • Sign up for Okapi Reusables to borrow a reusable and returnable cup at participating coffee shops.
  • A reusable drink kit typically calls for a water bottle, an insulated cup for warm drinks, and/or a cup with a reusable straw.

This should get you started with BYO. Are we forgetting any others? Contact us and let us know!