Plastic bags clog recycling machinery

The question of how to dispose of plastic Publix bags and plastic bottle caps popped up during a recent Plantation City Council meeting, so I made a call to Luigi Pace of Waste Management.

The verdict: Including the cap of, say, a milk jug in your clear plastic trash bag isn’t so terrible, although it is not preferred. But it’s different for the plastic bags you bring home from Publix, Target and elsewhere. I’d suggest returning them to the receptacle located at most Publix stores. (Pictured.)

“They clog up the machine something wicked,” Pace said. They clog the recycling processing machinery  and actually cause the plant to be shut down and stop the processing of the materials to clear away the plastic bags.

Slowing the sorting and recycling process trash process costs the company more money, which then could mean higher fees for all of us. I have finally converted to (usually) bringing my own reusable cloth bags for grocery shopping, so that balled-up pile of bags is decreasing in the Sortal home. 

   Also, to those who wonder if they need to wash out those V-8 bottles, milk jugs, etc. before they go in the recycling bag: It is preferred that the cans and bottles be clean but if a can comes in with some food residue it will still be processed for the recycling market. The other benefit is if you clean the containers out it will help reduce the smell and avoid attracting bugs.

Nick Sortal is a member of Plantation City Council. Email or Twitter @PlantationNick