NOVEMBER 17, 2013 BY 

Tip 3 in our installment of TV18 PSAs: Plastic Bags

2012 Sbt Mag Button2 June10 copy

2012 Steamboat Magazine Ad from YVR

Even though plastic bags have a mobius and are recyclable, they can not be put in traditional (household or dumpster) recycling streams. They are considered a “soft plastic” which requires a different recycling process than 1-7 hard plastics.

There are more soft plastics accepted than most people realize; the liners of cereal boxes, toilet paper and paper towel packaging, frozen vegetable packaging, freezer and sandwich bags (without the hard plastic components), bread bags, and newspaper bags. Collection bins to accept “soft plastic” materials are located at Safeway, City market, and Wal-Mart provided by Bags2Bags, a green corporation that recycles this plastic into future bags.

But the extra effort and trip to recycle the soft plastics is a deterrent, less than 10% of these bags get recycled.

Recycling Champions cut down on this waste in a variety of ways: always use a reusable grocery bag, buy cereal in bulk, and use cloths instead of paper towels to name a few.

YVR has teamed up with Ski Town Cleaners locations, located in Central Park and Curve Plazas, to offer free reusable bags to those who need them. These bags are donated and washed to offer a “plastic free” option to residents and visitors.  YVR also sells keep-sake reusable bags for $1 and will be at many holiday events throughout the season. You can also purchase these bags up at the YVSC office at 141 9th Street year-round, and at the Saturday Markets throughout the summer.

That said, the plastics industry has successfully been able to reduce the amount of material needed to make packaging for consumer products. Plastic packaging is generally more lightweight than its alternatives, such as glass, paper, or metal. Lighter weight materials require less fuel to transport and result in less material in the waste stream.

View more about Plastic Bags and our local efforts here.

Spoof video on the “History of the Plastic Bag ‘Tax’”

View all 11 Recycling Tips here