Monday, September 21, 2009

New Law Mandates Plastic Bottle Recycling

Beginning next month, it will no longer be legal to toss plastic drink bottles--or most other plastic bottles--into the trash.

A new state law goes into effect Oct. 1 banning plastic bottles, motor oil filters and wooden pallets from the state's landfills. Those items join aluminum cans and corrugated cardboard as items that must be recycled.

Although penalties for violations are unclear, town officials are already taking steps to comply internally and intend to begin an informational campaign to notify town residents.

"This is an effort to get more recyclables out of waste disposal," said Public Works and Utility Director Tim Simpson. "But, the time of the ban is fast approaching, and I haven't heard much on the news about this from other sources. What we're going to do is make an attempt to get the news out to our residents."

He said to expect inserts in utility bills explaining the new law, as well as informational materials in public places and at public events and articles in the local media.

For this particular matter, the town is not in an enforcement role, but one of facilitator and educator.

Town Manager Steve Biggs said town employees intend to set an example with strong participation. Additional recycling containers will be stationed throughout public buildings and office waste baskets will be checked for banned materials.

"We intend to comply fully with the new law," Biggs said, " and we encourage all town residents to join us. Recycling is important for our economy as well as our environment."

Plastic containers banned from landfills include drink bottles, juice bottles, salad dressing bottles, condiment bottles, laundry and dishwashing detergent bottles, shampoo and conditioner bottles, liquid soap bottles, mouthwash bottles, cough syrup bottles and more. Bottles that contain motor oil or pesticides are excluded, as are plastic tubs, which are made with a different formula.

Already, under previous legislation, aluminum cans and a host of other items are banned from landfills.

Plastic bottles are recycled into a number of different materials, including new bottles, carpet, furniture, toothbrushes, fleece jackets, handbags, construction timber, hats and even cell phones.

For answers to frequently asked questions about plastic recycling, please check out the following link:

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