Communities grapple with plastic bags
By Jake Thomas, Resource Recycling
Communities continue to struggle with a way to handle plastic bags, with solutions ranging from outright bans to experimental recycling programs.
The San Luis Obispo County, California Integrated Waste Management Authority passed a measure last week that will ban plastic shopping bags at most stores in the county and require retailers to charge 10 cents for each paper bag they distribute, reports The Tribune . Although the board, which is made up of elected officials from the region, passed the ordinance, opponents have signaled that they will challenge the measure in both the courtroom and the ballot box. Adversaries of the ban include the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, an organization that has challenged plastic bag bans throughout California in court .
Madison, Wisconsin has announced that it will no longer be collecting plastic bags through its drop-off sites and will instead begin collecting the bags as part of its curbside recycling program.
According to the city's Street Division, there are four plastic bag drop-off sites that cost $17,800 a year to operate. The sites will be closed down as residents will have the more convenient option of putting their plastic bags in their curbside recycling bins. Residents will be asked to place their plastic bags in a larger plastic bag and tie it shut before placing the bundle in the green curbside recycling carts.
Madison's recycling program accepts plastic grocery, produce and newspaper bags. Water softener salt bags, bread bags, food storage bags and other plastic bags marked as No. 2 HDPE or No. 4 LDPE can be recycled, along with heavier plastic film such as the clear wrapping used to encase appliances and mattresses as well as shrink wrap. Most area supermarkets will still be operating their plastic bag drop-off collection programs, as they were independent of the city's efforts to recycle plastic bags.