Bag Blog

A Bag's Life Kicks Off in New York

(West Babylon, NY) - Dec. 13, 2011 - Just in time for peak holiday shopping, here comes A Bag's Life, a statewide educational campaign launched today to remind New Yorkers to bring back their plastic bags to a store that recycles them. During a lively kickoff event at South Bay Elementary School on Long Island, Suffolk County Legislator Wayne Horsley encouraged kids to nudge their parents into not only recycling their plastic bags, but also the flexible plastic wraps that come around paper products and cases of beverages that we so often purchase for holiday celebrations.

"I know you've all seen the familiar plastic bag collection bins that sit out front of most large stores where your parents shop," said Horsley, who authored the 2007 Suffolk County bag recycling bill that later was adopted by New York City and then statewide. "Next time, don't just pass by that bin. Recycle your plastic bags and you'll be doing your part to help the environment and contribute to a positive energy conservation program. Remember to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!"

New York is the sixth state to launch A Bag's Life, which includes an interactive and educational website and an app that pinpoints retail drop-off sites by zip code. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, Trex Company and the American Chemistry Council are just a few of the partners joining in to support the public-private partnership which embraces the 3Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle - as they relate to plastic bags and plastic wraps.

Through thought-provoking messaging like "Don't treat me like trash" and "Gimme a second chance," A Bag's Life adds an educational and social media element to enhance New York's 2008 recycling legislation, which requires large grocers and retailers in the state to provide collection bins for plastic bags and wraps. The website for A Bag's Life also offers an easy-to-use recycle location finder that lists the nearest drop-off points for recycling plastic bags and wraps with a Google Maps option.

A big part of the A Bag's Life campaign is to make consumers aware that aside from plastic bags, other bags like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers, produce and bread, as well as wraps used on products like paper towels, diapers or bottled water, also can be dropped off at many retailers for recycling.

Nationwide, plastic bag recycling is on the rise, with more than 855 million pounds recycled in 2009 - a 31 percent increase since 2005.

"In New York we are well aware of the impact plastic bag litter has on our roadways and agricultural environment," said Joe Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "Recycling helps alleviate plastic bag litter and is something we can all do by returning or reusing our plastic bags. It's great to see a private-sector solution offered to a public problem."

South Bay Elementary students in the fourth and fifth grades kicked off a plastic bag collection competition of their own today, with the winning class getting a Trex bench made from approximately 5,000 recycled plastic bags.

"Recycling plastic bags makes sense in the first place, but when large retailers are giving consumers access to the service right there at their front door because of state law, it makes even more sense to recycle," said Jim Rogers, president and CEO of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State. "By taking the extra time to bring grocery bags back to the store to be recycled, people are giving that bag a second chance to be made into something else like outdoor decking, park benches like the one from Trex, or even new bags. It's a simple earth-friendly practice that can yield tremendous results."