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DNREC says don’t recycle plastic bags curbside

If you are recycling plastic grocery bags curbside bin at home, DNREC wants you to stop. DNREC is directing residents to no longer put those bags in their single-stream recycling bins.

DNREC’s Environmental Program Manager Bill Miller says the bags have a tendency to clog the machinery that separates materials at recycling facilities and industry officials are asking they be left out.

“Plastic bags are a challenge because a lot of the mechanics in these types of facilities are moving parts and the plastic bags – not just plastic bags but any type of plastic film, whether it’s a bag or a sheet of plastic – can get caught up literally in some of the equipment,” said Miller.

But Miller adds the bags should still be recycled and says shoppers can usually return them to the same place they got them.

“Most retailers and most grocery stores have a system for, and collection bins for taking those bags back. So, though you really shouldn’t be putting them in your residential recycling bin, there is a means to recycle them and we encourage you to take them back to store that have the collection containers,” said Miller.

Delaware is entering the final phase of implementing the state’s Universal Recycling Law this January when commercial recycling will be required for the state’s business, institutional, and government sectors.

In September of 2011, the law required all waste haulers in the state to provide single family homes curbside recycling pick up at least every other week.