HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The Department Of Energy And Environmental Protection is trying to get people to recycle plastic bags and wrap. Starting Tuesday you can expect to see new recycling bins at grocery stores and various other shops.
This program will help save the planet and make things safer for workers in recycling plants, too, because it turns out plastic bags are downright dangerous.
From bubble wrap dry cleaning bags to the ziplock that held your sandwich (just make sure you clean out the peanut butter and jelly first), DEEP announced today you can now recycle all those things. It’s part of a push to reduce the state’s trash.
“And building public awareness that these items can be recycled and returned to over 200 locations in grocery stores and retail outlets throughout our state,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee at a press conference at a Price Chopper in Middletown.
A new program to recycle many kinds of plastic bags and packing materials kicks off today. Details on @WTNH pic.twitter.com/bpDqMPnJAH
– Kent Pierce (@kentpierce8) February 21, 2017
For a while now, many grocery stores have allowed you to recycle the plastic shopping bags. The trouble is, folks were putting other stuff in the grocery bag container.
“If you took that containers and you opened it up and you did like a little mini audit, 25 percent is grocery bags. 75 percent is everything else,” explained Sherill Baldwin, DEEP Environmental Analyst.
It turns out that “everything else” causes real problems at the facilities that sort the recycling.
“So when we have mixed recycling and you put in plastic film, it causes safety concerns for the employees that have to pick out and separate the materials. It also jams up the equipment,” said Baldwin.
But in a facility designed for thin plastic bags and wrap, it’s not a problem.
“Grocery and retail bags, dry cleaning bags, bread bags, produce bags, newspaper bags, overwrap to wrap paper towels, bathroom tissues,” listed Shari Jackson of the American Chemistry Council.
Just bring it all to one of a couple hundred stores with designated recycling containers, and they can be turned into hard plastic products like Trex decking material.
“When you bring these materials back to retailers, we actually get a lot more value so that they can be made into plastic lumber and other products,” Baldwin said.
For a complete list of drop-off locations near you, click here and enter your zip code.