St. Louis, like the rest of the country, is seeing the effects of too much contamination in recycling. China has stopped accepting recycling from the U.S., and recycling companies are working to find alternative solutions. The biggest contaminant? Plastic bags.
To address this, OneSTL, a sustainability collaboration in our region, is working to get out our main message: Keep plastic bags out of recycling bins.
We’ve declared Saturday, April 13, Plastic Bag Awareness Day. Our volunteers will be at stores reminding people not to place plastic bags or plastic film in their recycling bins and to bring a reusable bag when shopping. Some stores will be giving out reusable bags or other discounts or prizes.
Plastic bags jam recycling equipment and put workers at risk for injury. When plastic bags get baled with paper, cardboard or cans, they ruin large amounts of materials that could otherwise have been recycled. Plastic bags are recyclable, but they need to be brought back to grocery and retail stores for recycling.
Thanks to our partner stores including Straub’s, Local Harvest, Lucky’s, Pete’s Market, Fenton Walmart, and Kirkwood Dollar Tree and Dierbergs. Business districts including The University City Loop, Kirkwood, South Grand, Maplewood and Clayton are also giving out reusable bags or other discounts or prizes.
For plastic bag recycling locations, visit RecycleResponsibly.org and click on Plastic Film Recycling.
Jenny Wendt is a OneSTL member and senior project manager for the City of University City.