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Recycling Plastic Bags

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Jennifer Friesen

on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of Recycling Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags Melissa Ritchie & Jennifer Friesen Recycling in Calgary Each year Canadians use more than 9 billion plastic shopping bags. In other words: 17,000 bags a minute. So how are they recycled? Calgary Alberta & Canada The World blue bins
community recycling depots
if the plastic is stretchy (as in a shopping bag) it is recyclable
if it crinkles (like a cereal box liner) it is not It it possible to recycle plastic bags in most developed countries.
The highest ranking countries for recycling are:
Switzerland (52%)
Austria (49.7%)
Germany (48%) Most cities in Canada are responsible for their own recycling programs.
A network of major recyclers exists across the country, including: Merlin Plastics, EFS-plastics, and Interplast.
Retailers across the country also participate in a “take back to retail” reuse/recycle program Is there a user fee paid before buying product or is there a fee to recycle? There is currently no mandatory fee for using plastic bags. However many grocery stores now charge a fee for each plastic bags (usually 5 cents).
It is free to drop off recycling at any community recycling depot, but people who use their blue bin to recycle are charged monthly on their utility bill (Enmax). Is there an incentive to recycle, either by paying money or other ways? Currently there are no incentive programs in place Our Problem: Over 900 million plastic bags are used in Alberta yearly Yet... In North America less than one percent of the plastic bags we use are recycled. So what do we do? phase them out? A mandatory charge per bag
Legislating biodegradable bags
A complete ban of plastic bags altogether What do we do with the recycled product? Thanks to advances in technology, the plastic bags can be recycled into:
new bags
plastic lumber
sub-laminate flooring
park benches
picnic tables
decking Pros: Cons: Plastic bags are non-renewable (8.7 plastic bags hold enough embodied petroleum energy to drive a car 1 km).
Canada has the resources to continue the practice.
The plastic lumber created lasts longer than regular wood and can be recycled too. Some companies actually take a monetary loss for recycling plastic bags. The cost/benefit doesn't line up.
People don't have incentive to recycle the bags, they only have the incentive to reuse them. What's the cost?
The market for recycled plastic bags is worth $2 billion.
It grows 14% every year.
The demand for recycled resin has grown so much that the supply isn't keeping up with the demand.
The Canadian market price for recycled bags is $55 per tonne (150,000 bags).
Collecting and processing plastic bags requires funds and energy costing more than the $55 market price after recycling.
Worth it? An average plastic bag is used for approximately 5 minutes, yet it can take up to 1000 years to break down. References:







http://albertaplasticsrecycling.com/resources-education/plastics-recycling-in-four-simple-steps/ image courtesy of: http://www.kushari.org/2010/04/29/how-to-make-money-online/ image courtesy of: http://www.naparecycling.com/plastic_bag_recycling But remember...
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