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Don’t put recycling in plastic bags: Region

The Durham Region works department is launching a new outreach campaign to remind residents that recyclables in clear or blue plastic bags are not accepted in the municipal recycling program.

The campaign, which began on Feb. 17, includes waste collectors marking recycling in plastic bags with a yellow sticker to remind residents to use Blue Boxes for recycling. The campaign goal is to discourage the use of plastic bags for recycling.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in the number of residents using clear or blue plastic bags rather than Blue Boxes for their recyclable materials,” said Peter Veiga, supervisor of waste management and operations. “The problem is plastic bags impact our operations.”

At Durham’s recycling facility, these bags can get caught in the sorting process and damage the equipment. Further, since single-use plastic bags are not recyclable, it creates excess garbage and contaminates other recyclable materials, decreasing the value of recycling commodities. This also means costs increase, as the materials must now be disposed of as garbage.

Often the recycling in plastic bags is not sorted between paper products and containers, or the bags include items that are not recyclable, which further diminishes the value of the recyclable materials.

“We want to thank our residents for being committed to helping us reduce waste by recycling,” Veiga added. “Avoiding the use of plastic bags will help to save costs and protect the environment.”