Friday, 15 June 2007 01:32

Amador County Waste Management: Pandemic Of Plastic Waste

slide25It may seem like a trivial thing, but those "free" plastic bags we get at the grocers, department stores and restaurants are actually contributing to a world wide pandemic of plastics waste. Only 1-4% of the 19 billion plastic grocery and merchandise bags used annually in the State of California are recycled. That means that nearly 600 bags per second are discarded in California—destined either for the landfill or our marine environment. On July 1, 2007 California will become America's first state to initiate a mandatory recycling program to cut down on its mounds of plastic bags.

Under legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (Assembly Bill 2449) and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year, supermarkets, pharmacies and other major retail outlets must provide recycling bins to make it easier for customers to recycle their bags.

The basic requirements for stores that have 10,000 square feet of retail space and $2 million or more in annual sales include the following: 1. Labeling bags to return to the store for recycling. 2. Placing recycling bins in visible and accessible locations for customers. 3. The provision of reusable bags for customers to potentially purchase and use in lieu of disposable ones.

slide27 Retail establishments that are not mandated to establish an at-store recycling program and provide plastic carryout bags to customers at the point of sale may also adopt an at-store recycling program. For more information please contact the Amador County Waste Management Department at (209) 223-6429 or