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Survey finds that most residents not aware of where, what to recycle

WASHINGTON (September 29, 2016) – The Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) joined Mecklenburg County, NC, and Charlotte city officials today to kick off a new campaign to increase recycling of plastic wraps and bags throughout the county. City and county officials announced the campaign at the Harris Teeter store in the Ballantyne Commons East shopping center, one of many local grocery and retail stores that accept plastic wraps and bags for recycling in storefront bins.

Nationwide, more than 18,000 grocery and retail stores collect flexible plastic wraps and bags (also known as “film”) for recycling—yet consumer awareness remains low.

A recent survey of Mecklenburg County residents found that only half are aware that certain plastic items should be brought to grocery or retail stores to ensure proper recycling. Plus, few residents are aware of the many types of plastic wraps and bags that can be recycled. The Mecklenburg County campaign is designed to change that.

At the kickoff event, local officials pointed out that although plastic wraps and bags are widely collected for recycling at many grocery and retail stores throughout the county, residents should not place these materials in curbside recycling bins because they can cause significant problems with machinery at the community recycling facility. Putting plastic bags or wraps in curbside bins makes recycling more difficult, time consuming, and expensive, officials said.

Shari Jackson, director of film recycling for ACC, echoed these remarks at the event. “As you will hear time and again today, these plastic wraps and bags do not belong in your curbside recycling bins.” Jackson said. “Residents can simply gather their clean and dry plastic wraps and bags in a plastic shopping bag at home and then deposit that bag in a storefront recycling bin at participating Mecklenburg County grocery and retail stores.”

Mecklenburg County residents can learn where and what to recycle at

WRAP-imageThe Mecklenburg County campaign is part of WRAP (Wrap Recycling Action Program), an innovative public-private partnership that promotes recycling of plastic film beyond bags. The partnership includes the FFRG, GreenBlue/the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, the Association of Plastics Recyclers, brand companies, retailers, states, cities, and others, including Mecklenburg County. The county campaign is expected to serve as a model for other areas in North Carolina and eventually the entire state.

The campaign includes advertising on billboards, buses, newspapers, radio, and social media. The goals are to increase the amount of plastic wraps and bags being returned to retailers for recycling, reduce unwanted wraps and bags in curbside bins, and help reduce litter.

Mecklenburg County residents can recycle the following plastics at Harris Teeter and other participating stores: plastic bags such grocery bags, produce bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, and food storage bags (even sealable food bags and bags with “zippers”); plastic wraps from beverage cases, diapers, bathroom tissue, and paper towels; bubble wrap and shipping pillows. Residents can recycle any thin, flexible plastic wrap labeled with a #2, #4, or the How2Recycle store drop-off label.

These valuable materials are recycled into new products such as durable lumber for backyard decks, fences and benches, and new bags and packaging.

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