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Santa Barbara County Announces New Way to Recycle Plastic Bags

'New in the Blue' initiative lets residents put all clean plastic bags into their blue bins for pickup

With plastic bags a hot issue these days, Santa Barbara County officials are excited to announce a new way to recycle unwanted bags. Throughout the county, residents can now place most types of plastic bags in their curbside recycling bins.

From grocery bags to bread bags to bags once containing breakfast cereal, all clean plastics can go directly in the blue bin. Even bubble and cling wrap are blue bin approved. Click here to view a complete list of acceptable bags.

The county is partnering with the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc and Santa Maria to promote the new program. The campaign, titled “New in the Blue,” kicks off Friday.

Once collected in the blue bins, local trash haulers transport the plastics to processing facilities, where they are sorted, baled and sent for remanufacturing into new products, such as park benches and playground equipment.

Residents serviced by Waste Management are instructed to bundle bags together by putting their bags in one single bag. This process helps Waste Management’s staff manually pick out the bags at the sorting facility.

Residents serviced by MarBorg Industries can leave their bags loose, as the recyclables are processed at a facility that uses air blowers to separate the bags from other materials.

While recycling is a welcome option for plastic bags, residents are still encouraged to use reusable bags whenever possible. Reusable bags are a great way to reduce waste and preserve natural resources.

Click here for more information about plastic bag recycling in Santa Barbara County.

— Leslie Robinson is a program specialist for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

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