Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Q: What is the worst item mistakenly placed in recycling carts?

The answer may surprise you.

Then again, maybe it won't. Hopefully, by this point, you've heard that plastic bags are a huge issue for recyclers. Try this test at home: twist a plastic bag until it becomes like rope, then try to break it. Surprisingly strong, no? Plastic bags and other types of plastic film get clogged in the sorting machinery that separates all the paper products from the containers.

When the machinery gets clogged, it has to be shut down and cleaned by hand, as seen in the photo below. How often would you guess this cleaning takes place? Once a week? Once a day? How about every two hours. This cleaning accounts for more than a quarter of labor costs at sorting facilities such as the one in Clark County.  If you only care about one thing when it comes to your recycling cart, let it be this. Your recycling handler and your planet thank you.

-The Reuser


  1. Maybe they should change the process in sorting instead of discouraging the idea of recycling plastic bags.....

    1. Oh, if only it were that easy! Trust me, if there was some technological fix to this issue, we (and all other recovery facilities) would have employed it by now.

      If you would like to recycle your bags, the easiest way to do that is to take them back to your grocery store.

      Better yet, reduce your consumption of bags by taking reusables to the store!


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