It seems everyone has gone green or is getting there soon, but you could be botching your recycling efforts and not even know it. Plastic grocery bags are a little-known misstep people often make in curbside recycling programs. They not only impact recycling facilities financially, but more importantly, they create a safety issue for employees.
When plastic bags are mixed with acceptable recyclable materials, the bags entwine in the equipment. Employees sort recyclables by hand and are in direct contact with every piece of material delivered to our recovery facilities. This causes unsafe conditions and downtime to clear the equipment.
Plastic bags also contaminate and lower the value of recyclable materials when they are mixed.
The good news is, plastic bags can be recycled with the right collection system and processing equipment. Consider taking them to grocery stores, co-ops and retailers that accept clean, dry plastic bags for recycling. Look for specially designated bins usually located at the entrance of the store.
Each year, millions of dollars are spent removing items that shouldn’t be in the recycling stream. You can help stop the clog and create new materials at the same time. Plastic bags and wraps can be recycled into plastic lumber that is used to make park benches, backyard decks and fences – even playground equipment!*
This one small effort can make a big impact on recycling efforts. Thank you for keeping bags out of the bin!