HomeMullica Hill NewsStill putting your plastic bags in the recycle bin? Here's why you...

Still putting your plastic bags in the recycle bin? Here’s why you shouldn’t

Within the last year, there’s been a lot of confusion about plastic bags. A recent presentation by Harrison Township official answers the question of what to do with them.

There’s been a steady stream of confusion when it comes to single-stream recycling. 

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On Sept. 17, Harrison Township Deputy Administrator Dennis Chambers met with the Golden Age Club at the Mullica Hill Branch Library to speak about recycling and try to clear up some confusion within the town. 

He was there for one reason: to tell residents they should not put plastic bags in their recycling container. 

It’s one that has caused the township to receive several calls and hear public comments during committee meetings from residents over the past few months trying to find an answer to what exactly can and cannot be put in their recycling bin. 

“The biggest issue right now that we’re having … is plastic bags. Your ShopRight bags, your Target bags, anything thin-filmed plastic … regardless of whether it may have a number on it with a recycling symbol around it that says it’s recyclable, it’s not capable of being processed at a single-stream recycling facility,” said Chambers. 

Within the last year, there’s been a lot of talk about recycling in towns across the state, especially over plastic bags. Most of the time, people use these bags for groceries or trash, ending up in the recycling bin. However, within the single-stream recycling system, such as the one Harrison Township and many other municipalities in the state use, these same bags are considered contamination, forcing recycling companies to add a hefty surcharge.  

His meeting at the library is not the first time the town had to educate residents.  

During a Harrison Township Committee meeting in August, a resident expressed his concern about the new recommendations by the town to not use plastic bags in residents’ recycling bin. The resident added that the use of plastic bags in his outdoor recycling bin keeps the stench, and therefore animals, away. 

However, Chambers says that even trash bags, which some may use to keep their in-home recycling bin clean, should not be thrown into the recycling bin that will be picked up by waste management.

The township recently had to educate the elementary school after it found that the school threw out too many plastic bags in its recycling.   

When it comes to using plastic bags from grocery stores, residents can take their bags to ShopRight, where it collects and recycles them for reuse. 

Chambers says the town is planning to update its website with information and might send a release to residents about the plastic bag issue.

As of now, residents can find information about recycling and trash pickup on the township’s website

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