APRIL 2011

North Carolina launches new plastic bag recycling program

North Carolina became the fourth state in the nation to join the “A Bag’s Life” recycling movement by providing a statewide recycling education program and helping consumers find the nearly 1,200 drop-off sites in the state at grocery and retail stores.

North Carolina retailers and legislators announced participation in the plastic bag recycling awareness campaign, which provides an educational website at www.abagslife.com/NC, an app that locates drop-off sites by zip code and a make-your-own video contest that will begin in the fall.

State Representative Ruth Samuelson and State Senator Buck Newton, the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association and Keep North Carolina Beautiful are among those involved in the public-private partnership to encourage North Carolina residents to recycle plastic bags.

A Bag’s Life, through quirky messaging like “Don’t treat me like trash” and “Gimme a second chance,” encourages consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle their free grocery bags. It also reminds people that other bags like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers and bread, as well as wraps and films used on products like paper towels or bottled water also can be dropped off at many retailers for recycling.

The plastic bag icon on the website is designed to take on a life of its own, smiling when it’s happy, frowning when it’s not. Website copy suggests that individuals should step up and do their part to address litter and waste rather than blame the bag if it’s not being recycled or reused.

Nationwide, plastic bag recycling is on the rise, with nearly 855 million pounds recycled in 2009 – an increase of 31 percent since 2005.