Pilot program aims to divert plastic bags, eliminate clogged machinery
- All 12 Safeway grocery stores in Clark County, WA will soon begin accepting clean, dry plastic polyethylene wrappers and bags as part of a pilot program called Beyond Bags — Recycling Plastic Wrap and Film. Polyethylene plastic is used to make packaging film and assorted bags.
- After the bags are baled at Safeway's Clackamas, OR distribution center they will be trucked to Trex's manufacturing facility in Nevada, where it makes wood-alternative construction products. It takes 2,250 plastic bags to make a standard 16-foot composite lumber board.
- Partnering in the program are the city of Vancouver, Waste Connections, Clark County, Safeway, Trex and the Wrap Recycling Action Program. Once the pilot program ends, the partnership would like to have more retailers join its efforts.
The goal of the program is to increase awareness that plastic wrappers and bags do not go into blue recycling carts, The Columbian reported. Bags and plastic packaging wrappers, also known as film, clog the equipment at the regional West Van Material Recovery Facility.
Also, recycling polyethylene into other products consumes less energy than making new products from scratch, said Tanya Gray, Vancouver's solid waste supervisor.
"This actually becomes a really valuable resource, and it has a market," said Loretta Callahan, spokeswoman for Vancouver's Public Works department.
- The Columbian Vancouver pilot program moves 'Beyond Bags'