Reducing, Reusing and Recycling Plastic Bags and Wrap
We're going beyond bags!
It's clear: Plastic wraps, bags and film packaging abound. From the wrapper around paper towels, to the plastic enveloping a new shirt, to the sleeve holding the newspaper, to a plastic bag containing bread. And that's just a small sampling. Unfortunately, these materials are often wasted or become litter instead of being properly recycled as valuable resources to produce new products.
Some communities have banned single-use plastic bags, but that doesn’t address the other plastic materials that have the same impacts for litter and waste.
The new Recycle Wrap/Beyond Bags pilot program joins together partners and agencies interested in a comprehensive solution aimed at keeping plastic bags and wraps out of the environment and in the economy: Safeway, WRAP, Trex, Parr Lumber, Waste Connections, Clark County and its cities.
Residents, businesses and retailers are encouraged to join in this partnership. Here's how:
- Make reusable bags our first choice when possible.
- Keep plastic bags, wrap and film packaging out of curbside carts.
- Collect the clean, dry plastic wraps and bags we do get. No need to sort. It can all go in one plastic bag.
- Take the plastic film packaging, bags and wrap to your neighborhood Safeway store or another drop-off site to be collected, recycled and turned into resources to make new products, such as TREX composite lumber for benches and decking or new grocery bags.
Check for drop-off locations here.
Remember: Some things can’t go into the recycling cart. Glass goes on the side. Plastic wrap goes to the store. Why? Materials put into the recycling cart get sorted by machines, and plastic film gets wrapped up in the machinery, causing all kinds of problems and expense.
Watch for more ideas and events encouraging individuals, schools, non-profits, workplaces and communities to collect plastic bags, wraps and film packaging for recycling!
Beyond Bags Background & Media
– City Press Release: Students Shine as Recycling Super Stars in Trex Challenge (May 13, 2016)
– City Video: Trex Challenge Celebration (May 13, 2016)
– City Council Workshop (Aug. 24, 2015) Click on “Solid Waste Program Update: Beyond Bags"
– Columbian Article: "Vancouver pilot program moves ‘Beyond Bags" (Aug. 24, 2015)
– Launch Event Podcast of Weekend Warriors (PARR/KPAM) Radio Show & interviews (Aug. 29, 2015)
Vancouver and Clark County Retailers are Encouraged to Get Involved with Beyond Bags recycling
All area retailers are welcome to expand or initiate bag, film, and wrap recycling opportunities for their customers by adding signage and bins near store entrances. City program staff can provide information and answer questions (firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-487-7160). Sign-up directly to be a WRAP Champion or Partner. Efforts begin in the fall of 2015 to identify other businesses in the region who generate volumes of shrink wrap or similar plastic film materials that could be recycled. Let us know if your business wants to participate.