Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Plastic Bags Suck

[...in addition to all of the other obvious reasons, that is!)

Everyone asks, "Why don't we just recycle the single-use plastic shopping bags (or plastic wrap, or six-pack holders, etc) instead of banning them?"

San Diego, California, the 8th most populous city in the USofA, has a robust recycling program (72,000 TONS/year!!), and has recently upped the variety of plastics that they will accept - they even take plastic toys and lawn furniture now - but they refuse to accept single-use plastic bags. Why? Let's ask the expert...

Ken Prue, San Diego's recycling program manager, as quoted in a recent Voice of San Diego article, gave this solid list (and, I quote):

1) It is cost prohibitive to recycle plastic bags or other types of plastic film or plastic wrap in the curbside program.

2) The recycled bags have little value, and when collected get badly contaminated, decreasing their value further.

3) There are virtually no markets in the U.S. for curbside-recovered plastic bags, and international markets are not much better.

4) A bigger problem with collecting plastic bags curbside is that they get wound up in collection and processing equipment, requiring maintenance that costs money and time, and creates inefficiencies for processing all the recyclables.

Tell your friends! 'nuff said!