Changes are coming to the recycling program in Kent County.

Wood TV 8 reports that starting January 1, 2020, the Kent County Recycling & Education Center will no longer accept plastic shopping bags and shredded paper.

Why?

Dar Baas, Kent County Department of Public Works director explains in a statement,

“Our goal is to get all materials that come into our facility into recycling markets. Over the last several years, it has become increasingly difficult to sort bags from the other recyclables and the bags aren’t able to be recycled after they pass through a system like ours.”

Plastic bags can cause all sorts of issues at sorting centers, like shutdowns from the bags tangling around machinery and bags mixing with bales of paper. Kent County has been paying for the bags to burned in a waste-to-energy facility Indiana.

As for shredded paper, it's often too small to get detected and sorted, so Kent County asks residents to shred and dispose of only what is necessary for security purposes and recycle whole pieces of paper.

What can you do with your plastic shopping bags?

Kent County DPW encourages people to drop off clean, dry plastic bags at participating stores, such as Meijer.

Erik Petrovskis, Director of Sustainability for Meijer says,

“All Meijer supercenters accept clean, dry plastic bags which customers can place in receptacles at the front entrances of the store. We send these bags to external partners who recycle them into high-quality manufactured goods. We also encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags or purchase reusable bags which are available in our stores.”

For more info on recycling in Kent County, go to reimaginetrash.org/bags.