MADISON, Wisconsin – The city of Madison announced last week that it will no longer recycle plastic bags. It is recommended that you take them to collection points so that they do not end up in a landfill and can be reused in an environmentally friendly way.
Tim Metcalfe, who owns the Metcalfe grocery stores, has set up his collection point for about 15 years. He said he empties his trash cans once a day but predicts he will have to do so more now as the city cancels its plastic bag recycling program.
“Customers come in, put them right here in these bins, and then after a week we consolidate all of this and give it to our wholesaler,” he said.
Metcalfe works with a company called Trex that recycles plastic bags and makes outdoor products. Other retailers like Target, Hy-Vee, Woodman’s etc work with their own wholesalers who use the plastic bags to use on other items.
Bryan Johnson, Madison City’s recycling coordinator, said plastic bags are “terrible for sorting plants”.
“We were one of the few places in the country that tried to have plastic bags on the cart like this,” said Johnson. “What happens in the recycling plants is that they get wrapped around the screen, that they clog robots, that there are all kinds of problems.”
It is illegal to ban or tax plastic bags in Wisconsin. As such, Johnson recommends either stopping the use of plastic bags and switching to reusable ones, or taking plastic bags to one of the various drop-off points to ensure they are properly recycled.
If people keep trying to recycle plastic bags, Johnson says they’ll just end up in the trash.
“Right now in Madison City, 18.9% of what we recycle is trash and shouldn’t be there.”
Here is a list of where to get your plastic bags for proper recycling.