Government Public Works

Message from West Hartford Public Works: Please Don’t Put Recyclables in Plastic Bags

Workers cut plastic bags out of the recycling equipment. Courtesy photo

West Hartford’s recycling coordinator is asking residents to avoid placing recyclables in plastic bags, and to just throw them into the blue bin.

Recyclables should not be left in plastic bags when placed in the blue bin. Courtesy photo

By Katherine Bruns, Recycling Coordinator

Did you know that plastic bags are not allowed in curbside recycling?

All recycling should be placed loosely in your blue recycling barrel. Paper bags are okay – but loose is best because it allows for more volume to settle and be collected in one load. No Styrofoam, no black plastic.

Plastic bags hinder the recycling process by:

  • Contaminating otherwise valuable recycling material
  • Wrapping around recycling machinery resulting in frequent shuts downs, damage of the machinery and wasting time and tax dollars while workers cut plastic out
  • Making it difficult for our haulers to see if non-recyclable materials are in the blue bin
  • Full plastic bags of recycling are often sent to trash

Sometimes workers at Murphy Road Recycling in Berlin, where West Hartford’s recycling goes for sorting, can rip open the bags in time. But if they cannot, many bags end up in the trash. By recycling properly, without plastic bags we allow workers to safely do their job and ensure recyclable items get recycled!

The photo below shows workers at a recycling facility cutting plastic bags out of recycling machinery. Machines are often shut down one to three times a day for several hours at a time for this tedious and dangerous work, loosing time and tax-payer money.

Workers cut plastic bags out of the recycling equipment. Courtesy photo

Please note: plastic bags and other “film” plastic items can be dropped off for recycling at designated drop off sites like Big Y, Lowes, Town of West Hartford libraries, West Hartford Town Hall and DPW.

The Department of Public Works says thank you very much for placing your recyclables loose in your recycling barrel.

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