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[GreenYes] Re: clear trash bags

I know some towns near Buffalo tried this and I believe are still doing
it. Here's an article from Waste News from July 1999, on the Subject.

By: Robert Bryce July 12, 1999

HAMBURG, N.Y. -- Sanitation officials in the village of Hamburg believe
the clearest way to encourage their residents to recycle is simple:
Make them use clear trash bags. On June 1, the town began enforcing an
ordinance that prohibits dark trash bags and mandates that all
residential solid waste be placed in clear bags.Village officials began
contemplating the move after noticing a drop in recycling rates.
``We saw a fair amount of recyclables in the garbage. But enforcement
is difficult, particularly with the dark brown, black or green bags,
because you can't see what's inside,'' said Gerald E. Knoll, Hamburg's
public works superintendent.
Hamburg is one of several municipalities in the Buffalo area that have
banned dark trash bags. The town of Cheektowaga, which has 100,000
residents, banned dark bags more than a decade ago to ensure that
citizens did not put paint cans or other hazardous materials into their
Having a contaminant-free waste stream is particularly important for
municipalities such as Cheektowaga that use incinerators for disposal.
``If residents are trying to dispose of things that aren't supposed to
be in the incinerator, it's easier to spot them if you are using clear
plastic bags,'' said Christopher Kowal, Cheektowaga's superintendent of
Although Hamburg is concerned about keeping contaminants out of the
incinerator, the village's main goal in requiring the clear bags is to
ensure that its recycling rates remain high. The city estimates that it
recycles 71 percent of its solid waste.
Hamburg, a village of 10,000, began curbside recycling in 1981, making
its program one of the oldest in the nation. But in recent years, city
officials noticed that citizens became complacent.
In the months leading up to the new policy, the Public Works Department
worked hard to make residents aware of the switch to clear bags.
Initial compliance has been excellent. During the first two weeks of
the program, the compliance rate has been about 99 percent, Knoll said.
And the amount of recyclable materials has increased slightly since the
program went into effect.
``When there's a change in a program, there's always some resistance
and questions. But once you get a chance to explain it, people
comply,'' Knoll said.

Dan De Grassi wrote:
I'm seeking information on the use of clear or translucent bags for
refuse collection, examples of any jurisdictions that require the use
clear/translucent bags as a means of facilitating recycling or
facilitating the enforcement of mandatory recycling (or conversely,
disposal bans of recyclables) by being able to spot recyclables mixed
with trash. Or examples of places that may not require such bags, but
promote their use. Opinions and other pontifications on the concept

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