King County campaign takes a hard line against plastic bags
King County launched a "Bag your Bags" campaign in Renton on Tuesday to get more people to recycle their plastic bags.
Seattle Times Eastside reporter
Recycling plastic bagsRetailers accepting bags include Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway, Top Food & Drug, Town & Country Markets, Metropolitan Market and the Duvall Red Apple. For more information, see www.bagyourbags.com.
Acceptable for bag recycling: Plastic grocery bags, bread bags, produce bags, frozen-food bags, plastic wrap from paper products, dry-cleaning bags. All must be clean and dry.
Source: King County
Most of us think we do a lot of recycling. The 61,000 tons of plastic bags and film that arrive every year in King County's landfill tell a different story.
King County wants residents to do more about the proliferation of plastic bags. On Tuesday, the county launched a "Bag Your Bags" campaign to get people to bring bagged plastic bags to grocery stores for recycling, even in cities with curbside pick up.
Loose bags clog up recycling machinery and also tend to sail away and litter habitat areas, said Patti Southard, project manager for King County Recycling and Environmental Services. Bags and film like the recyclable plastic around toilet paper and paper towels stay cleaner and are easier to process than if they are picked up curbside, she said.
"The best option is the reusable bag," she said. For those who forget their reusable grocery bags, "here is the alternative."
For the past month, as part of a challenge by King County, students at Renton's Kennydale Elementary School have been collecting bags, with the county to throw a pizza party for the winning grade. More than 600 students rounded up 43,000, or 644 pounds, of white, tan and red plastic bags piled on a school stage Tuesday.
Third-grader Fadumo Dahir, 9, helped wheel out some of the more than 12,000 bags collected by the third grade. She and her fellow students screamed and cheered when their grade won.
With her mother's help, Fadumo collected bags from about half the apartments in her building every week. Her class brought in about 1,600 bags, she said.
If you don't recycle, "it all goes in the water and hurts animals," Fadumo said.
PTA President Rebecca Gallagher, who helped bring the contest to the school, said students were really motivated, and bins for bag collection placed outside classroom were overflowing
Gallagher, who is meticulous about bringing reusable-grocery bags to the store, said she still found piles of bags in her garage.
"We need to be more habitual about taking them to the grocery store," she said.
Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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