Plastic film recycling program going strong
August 11, 2022
The City of Shelton started a plastic film recycling program in April. Three months in, the program is going strong, according to City Manager Jeff Niten.
The program added plastic film as part of the city’s curbside recycling program, which allows residents to recycle clean and dry plastic bags, plastic storage bags such as Ziploc brand bags, dry cleaning bags and other flexible plastic film. Shelton partnered with SC Johnson to help with sending the plastic to a company that can recycle the plastic.
“I think it’s going pretty well. We’d like to get a few more people on board but there’s been pretty good response, I think,” Niten said.
The program operates on two routes: the first includes Parsley Sage, Springfield Loop and Christmas Village. The other route includes most of Mountain View. There are a total of 95 customers and Niten said he was expecting 100 to 150 customers.
“The reason for it was SC Johnson, who is the sponsor of the pilot program, has a, from my understanding, an end user for those recycled materials and they’ve tried the pilot program in other communities in the state and it’s worked out pretty well,” Niten said. “We wanted to be a part of that moving forward if we can get a lot of participation. SC Johnson has a user that they can sell to that manufactures the materials into other items, garden pieces, borders along your garden to separate grass from flower beds, that kind of thing.”
Mason County Garbage & Recycling provided a bin for customers who signed up to put their film plastics into for pickup days. The first pickup day was April 27 on route 3-16R, and the pickup alternates between routes every two weeks, meaning people put their plastic film bin once a month to be collected.
The final scheduled pickup is Oct. 26. Niten said he would like to see the program expand to communitywide. Niten said in his experience, a typical household doesn’t generate enough single-use plastic bags or wrappings to do more pickup than once a month.
“That is up to SC Johnson and their partners at Mason County Garbage. They would make the final decision on that, but I would be fully supportive of this becoming a more permanent program if that’s possible,” Niten said.
This is the third plastic film recycling program in the state, with SC Johnson partnering for programs in Point Roberts and Friday Harbor.
Niten said this program is helping out the local dumps.
“I think that it is an ecofriendly community with the stronger portions of our economy based on timber and based on shellfish growing,” Niten said. “I think people recognize the need to protect our natural environment. I think that goes a long way to making the community more ecofriendly.”
For people who live along the routes and want to join, you can sign up through Mason County Garbage at masoncountygarbage.com.