Indian River County officials launched a public outreach campaign on March 1st to discourage residents from placing plastic bags and wraps in curbside recycling bins, and to expand drop-off recycling locations for these plastics. “Please, do not put plastic bags and wraps in your curbside recycling bins,” implored Sue Flak, Recycling Education and Marketing Coordinator. “They do not get recycled at curbside. They harm recycling equipment and cost taxpayers more money. Instead, plastic bags and wraps should be taken to retail stores that offer drop-off programs such as Publix, or one of six county locations for recycling.”
The six locations are the Fellsmere, Gifford, Oslo, Roseland, and Winter Beach Customer Convenience Centers, as well as at the Indian River County Landfill. While recycling of plastic bags and wraps has been available at many leading retail stores for years, the County recently added new RACK’nPak Recycle Bagging System® collection bins manufactured by PolyWrap Recycling, LLC at the convenience centers to make it easier for residents to recycle properly. The RACK’nPak Recycle Bagging System® bins were made available thanks to a donation provided by America’s Plastic Makers® which sponsor a nationwide recycling initiative called WRAP (Wrap Recycling Action Program).
County officials were surprised recently to learn that nearly 70 percent of Floridians incorrectly believe that plastic bags and wraps should be placed in curbside bins for recycling, according to a survey conducted last month. The County is reaching out to residents through advertising, customized WRAP materials, and other efforts to complement the existing recycling campaigns for plastic bags and wraps at the school district’s 28 schools, 6 Publix Supermarkets, and other drop-off points. A list of drop-off locations can be found at plasticfilmrecycling.org.
These drop-off points collect plastic bags for groceries, newspapers, produce, bread, dry cleaning, and more, as well as plastic wraps from cases of water bottles, bathroom tissue, paper towels, and similar products. Residents can find a fuller list of materials that can be recycled at drop-off points here: https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/plastic-film-education-individuals/. Plastic bags and wraps need to be clean and dry for drop-off, and they get recycled into products such as new grocery bags, benches, shopping carts, and decking.
County officials plan to measure progress in three months, and hope to find a reduction in plastic bags and wraps in curbside bins and increased collection at drop-off convenience centers. The County hopes the expanded recycling opportunities will become permanent and expand even further. The campaign partners include Indian River County, ACC, PolyWrap Recycling LLC, Rotary Club of Vero Beach, Publix Supermarkets, and the School District of Indian River.