RI Debuts Statewide Plastic Bag Recycling Program

Today, Rhode Island is kicking off the nation’s first statewide plastic bag recycling program in a collaborative effort between the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. (RIRRC) and the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association. The program will be free for consumers and the stores that host collection barrels for the bags.

Consumers will be able to deposit plastic grocery and shopping bags and other materials such as newspaper sleeves, dry cleaner bags and produce bags in the barrels. Stores also can deposit their pallet plastic wrappings to be recycled. Materials will be sent the RIRRC’s materials recovery facility in Johnston, R.I., where they will be baled and sold to Trex Co, a plastic film recycler.

According to a 2004 RIRRC survey, 95 percent of R.I. households use plastic bags, which add up to 192 million grocery bags per year in the state.