UNDATED (WSAU) -- Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is joining a public and private effort to increase a certain type of recycling.
Cynthia Moore is the DNR’s recycling specialist. She says they are stepping up awareness so more people will recycle plastic bags and films. “Most people are aware that they can recycle plastic bags, and we’re trying to get the awareness out that not only can you recycle plastic bags, but there are many other types of plastic film and wrapping that you can recycle.”
Moore believes part of the solution to getting more of these products recycled is making collection easier. “We’re encouraging people to recycle, and we’re also encouraging local retailers and other business operations to serve as drop off collection points.”
Wisconsinites have been receptive to other types of recycling efforts, and Moore believes people will do a better job with bags and films if they just know what to collect and where to take it. “We’ve seen that when you get the word out, people do participate. I think in Wisconsin, we have a strong recycling ethic, and people are usually very willing and happy to recycle if it’s easy and convenient.”
Part of the new effort is to educate individuals and businesses about the types of plastics that are recyclable. Moore says if it stretches, it’s probably recyclable. “Wrap for tissue paper, dry cleaning bags, bread bags, clean dry produce bags, so there are a lot of bags and a lot of wrap that you encounter every day that is very recyclable. The important thing though, is that it’s clean and dry, and preferably does not have adhesive labels on it.”
Moore says the key is to have clean and dry materials collected, since contaminated products have a low value and are difficult to work with. She says to keep other types of plastics separate, such as plastic bottles.
Along with shopping bags and food bags, most shrink wrap film and bubble wrap is recyclable as long as it’s clean. Many businesses already collect the bags and films. The DNR website has more information about recycling.
The American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group and the GreenBlue Sustainable Packaging Coalition are working with the DNR to expand this area of recycling. Moore says a five week pilot program in southeast Wisconsin utilizing more collection points and a radio information campaign was very successful.