The problem of plastic bags gumming up MRF operations is nothing new. The latest example of the problems bags cause in recycling efforts comes from Chicago. There, only about 10 to 12 percent of what is picked up is meeting the standards for the city’s recycling program. The garbage that doesn’t meet standards goes straight to the landfill. And that includes putting recycling into plastic bags.
WGN has more:
The Department of Streets and Sanitation has mailed out notices but says a large percentage of residents have not caught on to the change, leaving them with no choice but to haul the garbage off to the landfill. Workers have started to tag recycling bins with warning stickers, letting you know when a cart is contaminated with regular trash.
The city is pushing for more recycling. Williams says, “When an item goes to the landfill we pay for that. When it goes to the recycling center we make money from that.”
They estimate that in 2015 the Department saved $4.5 million from recycled items.