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Plastic Food Packaging Causing Problems for Landfills in Wisconsin


As part of its Earth Day reporting, Dane County, Wisconsin ABC affiliate WKOW looked into how plastic food packaging is exacerbating the “already troublesome plastic waste problem landfills are facing” all over the state. 

John Welch, the director of the Dane County Department of Waste and Renewables, noted that, “At current filling rates and with the approved airspace we have right now, we have about six and a half years of airspace left.” In recent years, foods companies have increasingly introduced products in plastic pouches or multi-layered plastic bags; many waste-and-recycling facilities don’t have the technology to break this material down, which is why it ends up in landfills.  

And, Welch’s timeline is already feeling a crunch as a result of consumers’ shifting habits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notes WKOW, “Filling rates are expected to pick up at waste sites across the country because of the coronavirus.” More people buying packaged groceries and eating at home equals more plastic waste.

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