Bag Blog

Virginia launches campaign aimed at plastic-bag recycling

(WSLS 10)  Richmond, Va. --    Plastic bags are everywhere these days -- including lots of places they shouldn't be.

For that reason, state officials, businesspeople and local schoolchildren kicked off a plastic-bag recycling campaign yesterday called A Bag's Life.

The effort includes a website where people can find nearly 800 places to take old bags to be recycled. "Any type of litter is bad," said Mike Baum , executive director of Keep Virginia Beautiful, which promotes recycling and beautification. "It's bad cosmetically and bad for the environment."

Baum spoke in an interview after a campaign kickoff program in Capitol Square.

Bags that aren't recycled can take up landfill space, create unsightly litter and even cause problems for wildlife -- entangling birds, for example.

Recycled bags can be turned into new bags or into a board-like material used for benches and decks.??Plastic that can be recycled includes not just shopping bags but also bags used to wrap newspapers, dry cleaning, bread and paper towels.

In the Richmond area, you can put plastic bottles such as narrow-neck soda bottles in your curbside recycling bins, but bags are not allowed. That's because the bags can gum up equipment used to separate recycling items.

The bag campaign is supported by Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration, the Virginia Retail Federation and Keep Virginia Beautiful , among others. The effort includes a video contest for high school students to show creative ways to recycle and reuse bags.

Similar campaigns are being launched in other states.

Yesterday was America Recycles Day, which promotes recycling programs in the U.S.??Baum said people can help reduce waste by taking cloth bags to the store. "If you don't need a plastic bag, you don't need to take a plastic bag."