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[GreenYes] Re: clear trash bags

I'd thought of this idea of requiring residents to put garbage in clear
bags, a few years back and proposed it to the Sanitation Dept and
others in New York City for the very same reasons - so that enforcement
of recycling would be made easier. I was pretty much laughed at,
derided, told that clear bags are not made for garbage collection
purposes etc...

New York City recycles at about 16% at the moment (looking at the most
recent tally), down from about 20% before all those destructive program
changes in 2002 to 2004. Yet we target somewhere between 40 and 50% of
the waste stream as recyclable. So where are all those recyclables
going? In dark trash bags and exported to landfills and incinerators
in other states. I'm glad to hear that there were, indeed clear trash
bags available at the time I proposed the idea, and that there has been
success with this, and hope that the idea spreads. It makes So Much
Sense! Let's hear from vendors. Who sells sturdy clear trash bags?
Do they cost more than dark ones? Are they deficient in any way?

Mike wrote:
> 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
> garbage.
> 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
> highways.
> 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
> of
> 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
> in
> with trash. Or examples of places that may not require such bags, but
> promote their use. Opinions and other pontifications on the concept
> welcome.

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