Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Plastic Bag Recycling Task Force

Our county, Lake County, launched a plastic bag pilot program yesterday. The program is the work of the Lake County Plastic Bag Recycling Task Force which is composed of retailers, recyclers, state and local politicians, along with the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of the pilot program is to pull together various stakeholders in order to raise consumer awareness about plastic bag/film recycling and its availability in Lake County in order to increase the recovery of plastic bags and film.

The Illinois Plastic Bag Recycling Task Force was created by the Plastic Bag Recycling Act that became effective on January 1, 2008. The Task Force is responsible for developing and implementing a pilot recycling program. The program requires the involvement of both retailers and consumers to be successful. The retailers’ role is to provide an accessible, clearly marked collection bin for the plastic bags and film. The consumers’ role is to collect the plastic bags and film and bring it to a convenient location as part of a regular trip to the store.

Local retailers will put special containers near their front doors for customers to deposit plastic bags. Lots of stores in our county already have plastic bag collection containers in them, but the plastic bags that end up in the special containers will be weighed as part of a study and then recycled so they don't simply end up as garbage in area landfills. Weighing the bags will show their impact on the environment. When the pilot program concludes at the end of this year, the Task Force will submit a report to the General Assembly that will address the costs, benefits and challenges of implementing the pilot program.

Did you know that in 2006, more than 812 million pounds of plastic film and bags were recycled nationwide? That's a lot of plastic! One grocery store chain in our area claims that cloths bags have reduce the use of plastic shopping bags in their stores by 24% over the last three years.

One of the stores in the pilot program is the CVS store in our town. Mom is a little upset that our local grocery store is not in the program, but other grocery stores within this chain are participating. I'm not sure why some stores wouldn't want to participate. Wouldn't you as a store owner want to reduce your costs by having to purchase less plastic bags? Not to mention the environmental implications and press your store would receive.

In case you are unaware of the plastic bags and film that can be recycled, here is a list from plasticbagrecycling.org:

• newspaper bags
• dry cleaning bags
• bread bags
• produce bags
• toilet paper, napkin, and paper towel wraps
• furniture wrap
• electronic wrap
• plastic retail bags (hard plastic and string handles removed)
• grocery bag
• zip lock bags (remove hard components)
• plastic cereal box liners (if it tears like paper do not include)
• Tyvek(no glue, labels, other material)
• diaper wrap (packaging)
• plastic shipping envelopes (no bubble wrap/remove labels)
• case wrap (e.g., snacks, water bottles)
• All clean, dry bags labeled #2 or #4

I know that most of you use cloth or other reusable bags when you shop, so you don't have any traditional bags to recycle, but if you do come across a clean bag somewhere, please drop it off where it can be recycled. You can visit http://www.plasticbagrecycling.org/ to find plastic bag drop-off locations near you.

How many of you knew that you could recycle the plastic in the above list? All of us learn something new every single day. Now that you know these items can be recycled, please take the time to recycle them so they don't end up in a landfill. If everyone does their part, the world will be a cleaner place. Spread the word - recycling is where it's at!


dw said...

I've been dropping my plastic bags in a recycle bin at the local Jewel grocery store when I get a collection of them. Gotta recycle! Didn't know that Stubby and family are fellow Illinoisians (Illini?). :)

Stubby said...

Hi dw - we are fellow illinoisians. I'm so glad that you take your plastic bags to Jewel for recycling, but I hope that you will start bringing your own reusable bags to the store when you shop. Jewel has really nice bags that you can purchase, as do all the local stores.

Stubby xoxo

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Keep passing on the word- SAVE OUR EARTH! Good job

Unknown said...

a great find for panda fanatic!
my roommate and i LOVE this bag

dw said...

Hi Stubby, I do have four bags purchased from either Jewel or Target, and one smaller one (for those trips for one or two items) purchased at Whole Foods. I do use them most of the time, but occassionally I do forget :(

Archie and Melissa said...

hi stubby!
oh what a fabulous post!
i am always so excited to find a new place to recycle the plastic!

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! I'm glad you liked this post. I will keep passing on the word about saving our planet because it's the only one we have.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi dw - I'm glad to hear that you have reusable bags and that you use them most of the time. The trick is to leave them in the car so that you don't forget them.

Mom has been know to carry groceries in her arms if she forgets to bring a bag. She will not take a plastic bag no matter what.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! I'm so glad you stopped by to learn all the types of plastic that can be recycled. I'm sure you have lots of cool recycling programs where you live and maybe you could post about them in the future.

Stubby xoxo

Sequoia & Petunia & Emma said...

Wow we had no idea you could recycle all of those plastic wrap items too! Thanks so much for the info.

Stubby said...

Hi Sequoia & Petunia! Isn't it amazing how many types of plastic can be recycled with plastic bags? I'm glad you stopped by and learned what you can recycle.

Stubby xoxo