The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives in a number of ways. As new lockdown restrictions sweep the nation again in an effort to change the rising trend of positive coronavirus cases and deaths, many residents find themselves staying indoors again. It changes socializing from going out to the bar to logging on to Zoom. It changes education from kids leaving for the day to staying in and attending class online. But COVID-19 has also likely impacted the way you and your household generate waste. Here are a few areas where you’ve likely accumulated more trash, as well as tips for managing that more responsibly.


One of the biggest changes this year has been the need to wear masks when you go out. A mask that covers your mouth and nose helps to protect others in the event that you might be a carrier of COVID-19. According to the CDC, wearing a mask also protects the wearer from catching COVID-19. If you use disposable medical masks, you may find your trash can is filling up. One solution is to purchase a cloth mask that can be rewashed and reused. You can find these in grocery stores, online, or you might even have a friend who sews masks.

Take-Out Bags and Boxes

You might not be able to go out to your favorite restaurant once a week, but you can still enjoy a take-out night with the family. This helps to support local restaurants and ensure that they don’t go under as in-house dining becomes restricted. But it might also mean that you find yourself surrounded by take-out boxes and bags. Consider saving plastic bags and using them again for other things. Take-out boxes can’t be recycled, both because of the material used often and because of the food waste. However, there might be restaurants that offer compostable take-out boxes. Try to prioritize these when you can.

Delivery Boxes

You may still be able to go to the grocery store when needed while wearing a mask, but many other stores are currently closed or have limited hours. You might also be immunocompromised and struggle to leave the house even more than most at this time. There’s no shame in an uptick of online deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just make sure that you’re handling the packaging waste responsibly.

Cardboard boxes can always be recycled, but do your research to make sure before you drop them off in your recycling bin. If you can’t recycle them, consider creating an art project out of your boxes or perhaps a tower for your cats. Did your package come wrapped in bubblewrap or packing paper? Save it. You may be able to reuse it when it comes to shipping out gifts later this year.

In these times, it helps to have a trustworthy recycling company as well as trash pickup. Through single stream recycling, Brazos Valley Trash Valet & Recycling is able to accept more materials than ever. Contact us today to sign up for our weekly trash pick-up with complimentary recycling.