Have you ever even seen a special bin for just plastic bags at the recycle? Ne neither. and yet, this is why the whole thing is screwed up.
First of all, 2019 is the year of the wake up call for human beings. Our big, beautiful planet needs us to take care of it. Sooner, not later. I’m not waiting for others to decide IF we have a problem and then be disappointed by teensie effort put into place; only to be obliterated by political grandstanding. I don’t know about you, but I am more than alarmed at learning about the oceans and waterways teeming with plastic pollution that has sucked the oxygen from the water. Some parts of the Pacific Ocean have lost 40% of its oxygen, sea creatures are migrating in a panic. Loss of life and entire species are eminent.
Deforestation for the sake of development means just one will benefit monetarily at the expense of human life, wiping out oxygen source for many. It takes 80 trees to supply the oxygen for ONE human being. Smog. Fracking. Extreme weather, you’ve heard it all before. These are consequences from what humans have done. No bullshit, just facts.
You see them flying around the roadways and hanging from trees. Plastic film is everywhere and this is not good.
Americans use 14 billion bags every year. Though it’s unclear how many are mixed in with curbside recycling, it’s not unusual for general recycling operations to shut down several times a day due to the catastrophe the bags cause, said John Hambrose, communications manager at Waste Management Inc., one of the largest sanitation companies in the U.S.
Guess what? One-time use plastic shopping bags ARE very recyclable. But if you think you can toss them in with the bottles, cans or cartons in your recycling bin, there is good news and bad news.
Recycling plant employees must remove tangled bags by hand and put them in a pile to be sent to a landfill. The machinery is expensive and takes highly skilled technicians to understand how to operate and maintain them.
Although plastic bags are made of a highly valuable and recyclable material, they are not being processed and separated from the rest of your recycled materials at many Materials Recovery Facilities (aka. a recycling plant). Most of these facilities use several machines that can sift through tons of trash material. Because plastic bags are extremely pliable, they frequently wrap themselves around the gears and rotors in the plant and slow down or even completely stop the processing of other recycled materials. Someone has to stop the machine, get out there and unclog it before it can resume operation. This is costly and time consuming. Many places just end up burning everything in the landfill. It is understandable as to why people have become frustrated about recycling.
If you are already collecting your bags, glass, paper, metals, and other plastic containers, good for you! You’re halfway there! These collected bags must then be brought to your local Post-Consumer Recycling in order to be processed properly. Plastic film (as it is categorized in the industry) is highly valuable when collected separately, and is recycled to make things like park benches, porch decks, fences,
Plastic film includes plastic bread bags, grocery store bags, small plastic “baggies”, plastic cling wrap, or the plastics your newspapers arrive in, grocery bags, bread bags, case overwrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, wood pellet bags, ziplock & other re-sealable bags, produce bags, bubble wrap, salt bags, and cereal bags.
As with all recycling materials, plastic film must be perfectly clean, dry and free of any waste or food residue on them.
Some of our local grocery store may now be participating in plastic film recycling. I only recently discovered this and I have been recycling my plastic bags at the local transfer station for years. None of these stores do a very good job at promoting recycling so please feel free to get over there and ask the store manager how you can help them encourage and promote more recycling. Get those plastic bags back in the store.
Please go to the Plastic Film Recycling Programs page for communities, corporations, businesses, and single consumers and type in your zip code.
There are also companies you can contact that are dedicated to helping with public education and preserving the environment.
The American Disposal Service, a recycled plastics wholesaler has locations in Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, and Colorado, will set up plastic bag recycling stations in order to collect these materials.
One of the largest plastic film recyclers in the U.S., Trex saves 400 million pounds of plastic film and wood from landfills each year. So in addition to contributing to a healthier environment, purchase of their eco-friendly recycled decking leads us to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide.. Learn about Trex and the LEED Green Building Rating System™.
Learn more about companies that use recycled plastics at PlasticsMarkets.org connects suppliers and buyers of all types of scrap plastic (from bales to post consumer resin). It’s supported by the plastics industry and intended for awareness and use by the recycling industry in North America.