By Jim Stanford on January 7, 2014
Plastic bags thrown in the trash end up all over the landscape, from the beaches of Hawaii to the sand dunes of the Sahara. Dramatic images from coastal areas show creatures like an otter, dolphin and turtle ensnared by plastic.
Here in the West, plastic blows across the sagebrush plains like tumbleweed and ends up in our streams and forests. To reduce this pollution as well as the cost of hauling trash, our recycling center greatly has expanded the types of plastic bags and packaging it will accept.
Bread bags, produce bags, Ziplocs, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags and Visqueen-type sheeting are among the types of plastic residents now may recycle, along with grocery bags. Plastic wrap used to package paper towels, napkins, toilet paper and such also can be recycled. A full list can be found here.
In short, if the plastic can be stretched by poking it with your finger (rather than tearing), it can be recycled. All of these items should be placed in the bins for plastic grocery bags.
Plastic materials are recycled into a variety of products. Most plastic bags are recycled into composite lumber, according to Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling. Plastic also can be processed into small pellets, or post-consumer resin, which becomes feed stock for new bags, pallets, containers, crates and pipe.
Call the recycling center at 307-733-7678 with questions.
Teton County’s trash used to be dumped in a landfill near Big Piney. Now it goes to a landfill outside Idaho Falls.