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Keep plastic bags out of curbside recycling

Don’t put plastic bags in your curbside recycling container! Yes, you read that correctly. Please do not put any plastic bags in your curbside recycling container, even those used to store and carry recyclables to your recycling container.

Your recyclables go to a facility that uses conveyor belts and screens to separate the materials in preparation for shipping them to designated markets. Plastic bags get caught in the sorting machines and slow down the sorting process. Plastic bags clog the sorting machines in the same way a string gets wrapped around your vacuum cleaner brush — but on a much larger scale. At least twice a day, the entire sorting facility stops running, so the plastic bags can be removed from the screens by hand.

So, what should you do with plastic bags? Reuse them for bagging trash or for a second trip to the store. You can also recycle clean plastic bags at many grocery stores.

Recycling sites at stores take all kinds of plastic bags: newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags and more. Visit www.plasticbagrecycling.org for a complete list.

If you use bags to collect recyclables, empty the items loose into your cart. Loose materials are easier to sort. Better yet, simply collect your recyclables in a reusable tub, sturdy box or bucket.

To reduce the demand for producing plastic bags, take reusable bags to the store. Many stores will reward you for bringing your own bag.

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