Monday, September 26th, 2011

Most Recycling Programs Don’t Take Plastic Film; This One Does

Something has long bugged me about recycling programs: Most of them, including mine, will not take plastic film. No shopping bags, dry cleaner bags, bubble wrap, and no wrappers from store-bought food can be put in with the other recyclables. Film is too difficult to handle, say the collectors.

But what if all the film items were put in a plastic bag that could easily be taken from the other recycling after it’s collected? Putting the film in a film package makes it easy to see and separate. There’s a market for recyclable film, so that’s not the problem. Maybe the idea is just too simple.

Apparently it’s not too simple in Great Britain.

Since a simple solution is generally the most elegant, I have to think the residents of the West Oxfordshire District in the United Kingdom are an elegant bunch. Starting today, September 26, 2011, they need only put their “fly-away” plastics in a secured plastic bag, place that inside their existing black recycling box, and it will be collected with the rest of the recyclables. Elegant.

According to the Banbury Guardian, the local cabinet member for the environment in West Oxfordshire noted that, from when the District launched a new waste and recycling service almost a year ago “to give people more opportunities to recycle,” the recycling rates have almost doubled.

So, give people more opportunity to do the right thing and they actually do. Let’s try that approach on our local recycling services. They deserve a chance to be elegant.


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