recycling center accepting more plastic

By Jim Stanford on January 7, 2014

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Sublette County Commissioner John Linn kneels at the perimeter of the landfill near Big Piney. Note the abundance of plastic strewn about and beyond the fence.

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.

Click to enlarge.

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.


Posted under County Government, Economy, Environment, Politics, Town Government

4 Comments so far

  1. Mike V January 7, 2014 12:07 pm

    This. Is. Awesome!!!

  2. Bennett January 8, 2014 9:35 am

    Three cheers for whoever made this happen!

  3. Captain Mark January 9, 2014 7:09 am

    Jim —

    Great step forward, BUT — why is Teton County so narrow in accepting recyclables? There is a huge amount of styrofoam going to landfills every week. Plastic #1 and #2 are accepted, but plastic #3-#7 go to the dump. And why can’t we put cereal boxes in with the corrugated cardboard? Can’t Captain Crunch boxes get crunched with the rest?

  4. Mac D January 14, 2014 5:40 pm

    Captain Mark – Good questions. Considering our community size and the fact that we are located significant distances from recycling markets, we have a robust and successful recycling program, achieving some of the highest (perhaps highest) waste diversion rates in the state. There are currently few, if any, domestic markets for #3-#7 plastics (this material has historically gone to China, which is no longer accepting), which is one reason we don’t currently collect this material. Cereal boxes, etc. are made from paper board, which is a much less valuable/recyclable material (shorter fibers) than corrugated cardboard. We do hope to be able to accept this material in the future. Glad that you are engaged on topics of recycling – feel free to visit or call the recycling center anytime with questions. 307-733-7678

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