In Vigo County, dark plastic bags go in the trash, not into curbside recycling bins.

The Vigo County Solid Waste Management District last fall halted the collection of the bags and are continuing to encourage people to toss them in the trash.

Plastic bags, while common, such as grocery bags, are not as widely recycled as other forms of plastic. However, several grocery stores will collect the bags.

Ken DePasse, director of governmental relations for Republic Services, said there is essentially no market for plastic film bags. Republic Services collects trash in the county.

"Our system does not recycle that material. We do not accept plastic film, grocery bags. It clogs up the trommels [which are perforated cylindrical drums], that separates the materials," DePasse said Thursday.

Clear, see-through plastic bags are acceptable, "but we would prefer people dump those bags out loose in the recyclable container, that is the preferred way to do it, to empty the bag," DePasse said.

"We have been working since last fall on this and we still get some people who toss in [film] bags, so we are trying to educate them to quit that. There is no [recycling] market for film bags," DePasse said.

The Vigo County Solid Waste Management District is also making a change in materials it will accept in its annual Tox Away Day, held in September.

"We are no longer going to accept dry pesticides, herbicides and insecticides and aerosol cans," said Kathy Kinney, executive director of the waste district. Kinney said state solid waste regulations consider those items as non-hazardous "if coming from a household. But once I gather them and put them all into one container, then it is considered toxic," Kinney said.

"People will need to put that in their trash," Kinney said, adding the district will distribute materials to show what can and cannot be accepted for Tox Away Day.

The solid waste district spent $22,136 for its 2019 Tox Away Day, with 312 cars pulling through the recycling center on Haythorne Avenue, which is about $71 per car, Kinney said.

In a side note, Kinney said an e-waste collection that was staged Jan. 25 collected 198 televisions as well as other electronics, filling three 23-foot box trucks "top to bottom and front to back," Kinney said, with more than 13.6 tons of electronics collected.

Commissioner Brendan Kearns put the event on his Facebook page — Brendan Kearns for Vigo County — which resulted in a record turnout. Kearns said the social media post was shared 263 times and viewed by 10,805 people.
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