Posted in | News | Recycling | Energy | Green Products

City Council Action Could Make it Easier for Millions to Recycle Plastic Bags

The Progressive Bag Affiliates (PBA) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) applaud the Chicago City Council for passing legislation that requires the establishment of in-store recycling programs for plastic bags in certain retail stores.

This latest move to promote plastic bag recycling reflects a growing trend sweeping the country. From coast to coast -- from Honolulu to the State of California to Austin and New York City -- more communities are realizing that plastic bag recycling is a practical policy that is good for the environment and the economy.

"The City Council is making it easier for Chicago residents to participate in a growing national movement to recycle plastic bags," said Steve Russell, managing director for the plastics division of the American Chemistry Council. "The fact is, the more that policy makers study this issue, the more they recognize that promoting plastic bag recycling is the right choice for their communities."

More Americans are recycling plastic bags and film than ever before, driven by a growing realization that plastic bags and film are a valuable resource. In the United States, plastic bags and film recycling increased by 24% in 2006, reaching a record high of 812 million pounds. The increase in recycling is in part driven by greater demand for valuable recycled plastic and increased recycling of plastic grocery bags in states like Illinois.

These materials are made into useful new products, such as low-maintenance fencing and decking, building and construction products, and new carryout bags.

Plastic bags are a good environmental choice compared to alternatives. They require 40-70 percent less energy to produce, generate 40 percent less green house gas emissions, and take up 80 percent less space in a landfill than paper bags. Even a 100% recycled paper bag requires more energy to manufacture and process than a plastic bag.

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