Don’t throw out those plastic mailers and shopping bags so fast. There might be a grocery store near you where you can recycle them.
Ten grocery stores in the Puget Sound region are currently participating in a Seattle-King County pilot where people can drop off film packaging like plastic wraps and bags that are not accepted in traditional recycling bins. The pilot will run through the end of May.
Plastic bags and wraps must be processed separately since they get tangled in equipment at recycling facilities.
The deposited plastic bags and wraps, sometimes called film packaging, will be converted into recycled plastic pellets by Merlin Plastics, a British Columbia-based recycler. Those pellets can be used to create more film packaging, composite lumber, fences and agriculture products, according to Merlin Plastics President Tony Moucachen.
“We’re excited about this drop-off pilot as we work with partners to elevate solutions that promote a circular economy,” said Seattle Public Utilities Green Business Program manager Pat Kaufman.
According to King County, customers should look for bins marked for plastic bags and wraps near the entrance or checkout area of the stores.
What type of things can be recycled?
The plastic dropped off should be clean and dry. In general, if the plastic film stretches when pulled, it is OK to recycle. Labels and tape should be removed.
Things that can be recycled at a drop-off station:
- Produce, newspaper, bread, shopping and dry cleaning bags
- Plastic food storage bags that zip or seal at the top
- Plastic shipping envelopes without labels, bubble packaging material and deflated air pillows
- Product wrap from cases of water bottles, paper towels, toilet paper and female sanitary products
- Furniture and electronic wrap
- Plastic cereal box liners that are not made out of paper
Things that should not be recycled at a drop-off station:
- Frozen food or prewashed salad mix bags
- Chip bags or six-pack rings
- Candy bar wrappers
- Degradable or compostable bags
Certain items like frozen food bags contain a polymer barrier that extends the food’s shelf life but contaminates recycling, according to the Wrap Recycling Action Program. Things that tear like paper or crinkle loudly should not be recycled.
Where should I bring my recycling?
While stores like Target, Fred Meyer, Safeway and QFC already offer plastic bag and wrap recycling, the pilot expands the program to independent grocers, said King County Solid Waste spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson.
The grocery stores participating in the pilot program include:
- Town & Country Market Lakemont, 4989 Lakemont Blvd. S.E. in Bellevue
- PCC Community Markets, 22621 Bothell Everett Highway in Bothell
- PCC Community Market, 9803 Edmonds Way in Edmonds
- Town & Country Market Mill Creek, 15605 Main St. in Mill Creek
- Town & Country Market Bainbridge Island, 343 Winslow Way E. on Bainbridge Island
- Town & Country Market Poulsbo, 20148 10th Ave NE in Poulsbo
- Ballard Market, 1400 N.W. 56th St. in Seattle
- Madrona Grocery Outlet, 1126 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Seattle
- Marketime Foods, 4416 Fremont Ave. N. in Seattle
- Central Market Shoreline, 15505 Westminster Way N. in Shoreline
Look up more film packaging recycling locations nationwide at bagandfilmrecycling.org
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