Decades ago, all groceries and other goods were packaged in paper bags or boxes. Over the last few decades, many retailers have gone to plastic bags, something that has raised a few flags over the past several years because of environmental and recycling concerns. Can plastic bags be recycled? According to some news reports, yes.
The latest major city in the U.S. to ban the use of plastic bags is San Diego, as cities across the nation continue to discontinue the use of what is considered by many to be a “bad” choice for consumers. Plastic bags have been notorious for showing up in oceans, not being recycled, and overall being a nuisance that threatens the health and existence of some species, particularly those in our oceans, rivers, and lakes. But, are plastic bags really all that bad? According to an article at Earth 911, reusable bags such as those constructed of cotton or paper have to be used more than 100 times before they’re considered more environmentally friendly than plastic bags.
Certainly plastic bags are hard to process, which is why they often end up at facilities dedicated to recycling them. Whether paper towel or toilet paper wrappers, produce bags, those for dry cleaning, or even pet food or potato chip bags, those containing polyethylene can be recycled in a take-back program such as Bag-2-Bag, which is a program run by Novolex with more than 30,000 locations across the U.S.
Novolex wants to educate the public regarding plastic bags, which are made of recyclable products. Ultimately, the company’s technology melts plastic into pellets that are used to make new products (including plastic bags). Novolex also helps raise awareness among retailers and consumers regarding plastic recycling. Take-back programs need more plastic bags according to Phil Rozenski, Novolex’s senior director of sustainability, who says more people would rather reuse than recycle.
Plastic bag bans continue to rise, however many feel that the business of plastic film recycling is a good thing for all of us. What do you think?
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