On Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg hosted a press conference to announce that New York City is expanding its household recycling program to include all rigid plastics, not just #1 or #2 bottles and jugs. This will be a great opportunity to divert materials from the landfill and provide more recycled source material but it comes with one big caveat: NO PLASTIC BAGS OR EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE (EPS) FOAM FOODWARE.
This proves once again what a hassle it is to recycle plastic bags and foam takeout ware such as coffee cups and 'clamshells'. There's not much value in recycling these items and in some cases they can cause more harm than good. Plastic bags can be trouble for recycling processors because they can jam up certain machinery and because the flimsy material "blinds the optics" of certain trash-sorting machines. EPS foam foodware is mostly air and often contaminated with food so there are very limited places that will accept it in the United States.
Make every day Earth Day. REFUSE plastics and REDUCE your plastic footprint. REUSE shopping bags, water bottles, etc. RECYCLE as the last step. SUPPORT plastic litter source reductions such as checkout bag bans, foam food ware bans and bottle recycling bills.