We’re always looking for ways to further reduce our environmental impact, and a major burden that comes with our drop-off model is a whole lot of plastic bag waste. While plastic bags are in principle recyclable, in practice, we aren’t able to recycle the bags that end up at our drop-offs because they are food soiled. The only way to ensure that plastic bags don’t end up in the landfill or stuck in NYC street trees is to reduce the amount of bags you collect in the first place.
This year, we’re encouraging our drop-off participants to resolve to reduce their plastic bag use and bring food scraps to the drop-off in a reusable or compostable container. Look here for some suggestions on how to transport your food scraps.
Win this Bin!
In the spirit of the holiday season, we’re offering a gift to encourage you to take the plunge and bag the bags. Sign up at our drop-offs for a chance to take home a reusable food scrap storage bin!
- Register to win a bin at any of our staffed drop-offs through January 9, 2017.
- Find a list of drop-offs here
- You must provide a valid email address with your entry.
- Three winners will be notified by email on January 12th.
Follow the lead of these Reusable Bin All-stars
What’s the deal with plastic bag recycling?
Plastic bags are in principle recyclable, but in practice, they won’t be. The NYC recycling program does not accept plastic bags. There is a state regulation (New York State’s Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act) that requires large businesses that provide plastic carry out bags to customers to take back the bags. They are also required to ensure that they actually get recycled. But these businesses will only accept clean plastics, so food scrap soiled bags are out. Unfortunately, Big Reuse does not have the resources to ensure that these bags get recycled.
Recycling bags is the second-best option anyway. Transportation costs and the recycling process are energy intensive and polluting. The State Department of Engery Conservation recommends that people use canvas, cloth, or more durable plastic bags. Reusable bags are more environmentally friendly than paper or plastic. Under the law, any store required to recycle plastic bags must also sell reusable bags. Keep them in your car for the next time you have to run out for groceries. Also, remember that you can always say “No thank you.” Not all items require a bag so tell the clerk that you will carry small purchase items, like a magazine, candy, or a drink, by hand.