Plastic bags and wrappings are no longer acceptable on Yankton recycling routes or at the transfer station.
Recently, the City of Yankton was told by its recycling contractor that plastic bags will no longer be accepted for recycling.
"We got notified that Millennium Recycling is not going to be taking single-use plastic bags anymore," said Mary Robb, public works assistant for the City of Yankton Streets Department. "The market has been so inundated with plastic bags, they don’t want them anymore. They can’t keep up with it and it is very costly to reprocess the plastic bags."
Though plastic bags and wrappings can still go in the regular garbage, many types still take 10-1,000 years to degrade, so both Millennium Recycling and the City Of Yankton are encouraging residents to recycle and reuse plastic bags as much as possible, she said.
Also, plastic bags will still be collected for recycling at retailers such as Walmart and Hy-Vee, and are still being accepted at Goodwill for reuse in bagging and packaging fragile items.
"We are giving people a little leeway until we get the information all out there. We are going to be sending out the information to the residents that are on the solid waste routes," Robb said. "We need to make sure we try to get hold of people that don’t live in town and don’t get the newspaper, that bring their items in from other towns, do not bring their bags in."
Each house on city recycling collection routes will also get a new magnet detailing what can and cannot be recycled.
"We’ve gotten to be such a throw-away society that the excess — even with recycling — we can’t keep up with it," Robb said. "I suggest, buy a cloth bag from the store. They last a long time. I’ve been using mine for almost four years now. I have one that is just getting a tear in it, but it’s so much better than having all those plastic bags lying around."
Ideas for reusing single-use plastic bags include bagging produce from the garden for friends, picking up dog waste, lining small waste cans, or using them for produce scraps.
"Just try to reuse them before you throw them into the garbage," Robb said. "This does not pertain to garbage; you can still put your plastic bags in the garbage and use plastic garbage bags."
Robb also reminds people that recycling does not have to be sorted in bags, because single stream items go in the carts loose.
Those taking recyclables to the transfer station can bring them in cardboard boxes, reusable containers or paper or plastic garbage bags. Items should always be dumped out of the container. Empty plastic garbage bags can be put in the regular garbage at that time, but Robb recommends reusing them to gather recyclable items.
"I don’t live in town, so I bring my stuff in in boxes, dump them over the wall and reuse them," she said.
Robb also reminds consumers that brown paper bags, which can be recycled, are now a better option for your shopping than plastic.
"It used to be that you don’t use paper bags because they cut down trees to make them," she said. "But we have been recycling cardboard, which is reprocessed into paper sacks. So we are not cutting down trees for the paper bags anymore, which is excellent."
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