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Statewide Plastic Bag Recycling Program Launches in North Carolina

Contact: Andy Ellen, (919) 389-0136 
Email: andye@ncrma.org

‘A Bag’s Life’ Campaign Offers Education, Website, App Locator for  Nearly 1,200 Retail Drop-off Sites for Plastic Bags

(Raleigh, NC) – March 9, 2011 – North Carolina today became the fourth state in the nation to join the “A Bag’s Life” recycling movement by providing a statewide recycling education program and helping consumers find the nearly 1,200 drop-off sites in the state at grocery and retail stores. North Carolina retailers and legislators announced participation in the plastic bag recycling awareness campaign today, which provides an educational website (www.abagslife.com/NC), an app that locates drop-off sites by zip code and a make-your-own video contest that will begin in the fall.  

State Rep. Ruth Samuelson and State Sen. Buck Newton, the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association and Keep North Carolina Beautiful are among those involved in the public-private partnership to encourage North Carolina residents to recycle plastic bags. 

A Bag’s Life, through quirky messaging like “Don’t treat me like trash” and “Gimme a second chance,” encourages consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle their free grocery bags. It also reminds people that other bags like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers and bread, as well as wraps and films used on products like paper towels or bottled water also can be dropped off at many retailers for recycling. 

“While recycling plastic bags is a shared responsibility, retailers recognize they must take a leadership role in the state’s recycling policies,” said Andy Ellen, General Counsel with the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. “Most of our members already have established plastic bag recycling in their stores. A Bag’s Life simply takes those efforts one step further by making it easy for customers to locate the nearest recycling opportunity at their favorite local retailer.”

The plastic bag icon on the website is designed to take on a life of its own, smiling when it’s happy, frowning when it’s not. Website copy suggests that individuals should step up and do their part to address litter and waste rather than blame the bag if it’s not being recycled or reused.

“This program demonstrates what public and private groups can do when they work together,” said Heather Thompson, Director of Keep North Carolina Beautiful. “Recycling plastic bags is a simple earth-friendly practice that can yield tremendous results. By taking the extra time to bring grocery bags back to the store to be recycled, we are giving that bag a second chance to be made into something else like outdoor decking, park benches, or even new bags.”

Nationwide, plastic bag recycling is on the rise, with nearly 855 million pounds recycled in 2009—an increase of 31 percent since 2005.

The website for A Bag’s Life also has information about a make-it-yourself video contest which will launch in the fall.

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About A Bag’s Life in North Carolina
A Bag’s Life is a public education campaign that unites non-profits, business, community and government organizations around the common goal of promoting the three R’s as they relate to plastic bags—reduce, reuse and recycle.  Partners include Keep North Carolina Beautiful, the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, Trex and the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council.  Participating statewide retailers include Food Lion, Harris-Teeter, Ingles, Kroger, Lowe’s Foods, Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse, Target and Walmart.
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