January 7, 2009

Plastic Bags!

Plastic Bags—are also the nemesis of recycling plants, especially the “single stream” facilities like TFC Recycling in Chesapeake, where the reusable materials we put out on our curbs every week are separated for recycling.

Tim Lee, Business Development Manager at TFC, invited me to tour this amazing facility after my first Easy Being Green column. Lee is proud to report that “Forty tons per hour of recyclables are processed from Williamsburg, James City, York, and the greater Hampton Roads region.” I will refute any pessimist who says “those recycling trucks go right to the landfill.”

However, plastic bags are not supposed to go into our recycling bins. I was amazed to see countless plastic bags that well-meaning recyclers put into their bins, without realizing that they clog TFC’s huge separating machines when the bags get beyond the hand-removal step. I witnessed these machines abruptly stopping, requiring the plastic bags to be hand-cleared. So if you’re putting your newspapers back into the bag they sometimes arrive in before you toss it into your recycling bin, please change this habit. The only plastics that should go into your recycling bin are #1 and #2 plastic bottles with necks.