Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The flip side of reusable food shopping bags

ShopRite is the only North Jersey chain that recycles plastic shopping bags, and still gives customers money back for using a reusable bag (5 cents).

The Record of Woodland Park carried a long article about reusable food shopping bags yesterday. But there was no discussion about stores that recycle those pesky plastic bags that will undoubtedly be blowing around long after all life ends on our planet.

If I carry a dozen reusable bags in my car, why do I have to recycle plastic bags? For one thing, I often forget to bring the reusable bags into the store. For another, I also recycle lots of plastic wrapping and plastic bags that come with the food I buy.

If you shop for food at Costco, for example, you'll find that the two or more items you often have to buy at once are wrapped in plastic (or come in a cardboard box, which I also recycle). 

I also recycle the plastic pouches holding instant mashed potatoes and the smaller ones for Japanese green tea; plastic from shrink-wrapped poultry, fish, cheese or other food; plastic that covers bottle caps, plastic produce bags and other plastic items.

Unfortunately, I know of only supermarket chain -- ShopRite -- that accepts plastic bags for recycling. Hollywood Cleaners on New Bridge Road in Bergenfield had a receptacle for recycling its long plastic bags when I used to patronize it several years ago. Now, my dry-cleaning bags get recycled with my plastic shopping bags.

My recycling philosophy is if you are in doubt about whether something can be recycled, put it into the recycling container and let the sorters who work at recycling plants decide for you.

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