Plastic bags becoming a problem at Orange County recycling plant

Don’t put bags or plastic film in your recycle bin... That’s the message Orange County’s Solid Waste Department is trying to send residents. 

The county reports plastic bags have been jamming the equipment at the recycling facility.

“Those big film plastic and bags get wrapped around the machinery at the recycling sorting plant and cause it to get shut down,” said David Gregory, Manager, Orange County Solid Waste Division.

The county says the plant has to be shut down for hours at a time, costing money and slowing down the process.

“The machinery is not set up to separate that material,” Gregory said.

The problem? Residents are throwing plastic bags in with their recycling.

“It is our number one contaminant, in our recycling stream, is plastic film and plastic bags,” Gregory said.

So, the county is launching a campaign to educate the public about what can be recycled using these door hangers.

The county is encouraging residents to recycle the plastic at designated bins at neighborhood grocery stores.

“On each one of these door hangers, there is a website and at the website, you can enter your zip code and it’ll point you to the nearest recycling location,” Gregory said.

More than 200,000 hangers will be distributed over the next month.