20,000-plus plastic bags collected during Solid Waste District’s recent events

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In late November 2017, the LaPorte County Solid Waste District (SWD) was able to collect over 263 pounds of plastic bags (that equals out to roughly 21,303 bags) at its America Recycles Bag Exchange Events at area grocery stores. The district exchanged participants’ plastic bags for more environmentally friendly, sturdier reusable bags.

“This year we expanded to include two south county communities by holding events at the LaCrosse Public Library and the Wanatah Town Hall,” said Sacha Gee-Burns, the district’s environmental educator/public outreach coordinator. “We want to make sure that our programs are available to all residents of LaPorte County.

“The main reason that we choose to hold these events is to keep plastic bags from becoming litter on the side of the roads or tangled up in the trees. They are so lightweight that they tend to end up everywhere. And that’s a problem, especially when they can be recycled.”

The plastic bags are particularly problematic because they should not go into SWD recycling toters with other recyclables. They can be recycled at only certain sites. The rest of the year, the public is encouraged to take their plastic bags to local stores that have bins to collect them. Also, the SWD now accepts plastic bags in its lobby at 2857 W. Ind. 2, LaPorte, as part of the Community Challenge program that Trex offers. They are trying to collect 500 pounds or more of plastic bags before Earth Day, April 22, 2018. If the 500-pound minimum is met, the SWD will be awarded a bench from Trex — made of recycled plastic bags — to be placed in the community.

Besides furniture, bags can also be made into fleece apparel, hangers and engineered lumber.

The totals of the five 2017 SWD events are as follows:

  • Al’s Supermarket LaPorte – 121.5 lbs = 9,841 bags
  • Al’s Supermarket Michigan City Karwick Plaza – 27 lbs = 2,187 bags
  • Al’s Supermarket Michigan City South Franklin – 67.5 lbs = 5,467 bags
  • LaCrosse Public Library – 17 lbs = 1,377 bags
  • Wanatah Town Hall – 27 lbs = 2,187 bags

Learn more about the SWD at www.solidwastedistrict.com

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