Wednesday, February 6, 2008


That stands for "bring your own bag," which apparently more people are doing when they go shopping.

Today there were a couple of interesting stories in the newspapers predicting the demise of the plastic shopping bag.

The Washington Post ran a story headlined “Plastic Bags, Headed for a Meltdown” and the Hartford Courant had a piece headlined “Plastic Sacked”.

Both stories indicated that people are moving away from plastic bags and toward reusable bags made of cloth or recycled plastic, which many see as good news, because those plastic bags are made from crude oil.

Connecticut residents frequently ask whether those plastic bags are recyclable. While many stores will take back bags for recycling, towns served by our Bridgeport Project
and Mid-Connecticut Project mustn’t leave those bags in their curbside recycling bins. The reason is that the bags get tangled in the machinery our recycling centers use to sort and bale commodities before they’re shipped to processors to be turned into new products.

If you do get those plastic bags, they can be re-used. For example, at our Garbage Museum and Trash Museum our educators teach kids how to use them to in craft projects. The bags also come in handy for other, less attractive tasks. For example, we’ve met people who use them for cleaning up after their pets. You can also use them for trash disposal.

Now, from time to time you may hear concerns that these bags last forever in a landfill. In Connecticut, where trash goes to waste-to-energy plants, that doesn’t happen. And while open burning of these bags may release dangerous substances, the emissions control systems at our trash-to-energy plants remove those substances before they can get into the atmosphere. Check our emissions testing results and see for yourself.

By the way, paper bags are ideal for recycling newspapers, junk mail, catalogs, magazines, boxboard and other types of recyclable paper and cardboard. Just ask Phillup D. Bag!

Have you tried the new reusable shopping bags? What do you think? We’d like to know. Just post a comment here and tell us!