Ashlanders who are devoted recyclers — and we know many of you are — are frustrated by the Ashland Recycling Center's decision to stop accepting plastic bags, but there is a good reason for that, and there is also an easy way to cope: Just say no.
Plastic bags had long been a problem in curbside recycling bins, because they jammed the sorting machinery. But Recology Ashland had managed to find a destination for them where they would be melted down and turned into pellets, so the Recycling Center had accepted them for drop-off. But that ended last month, because the company that had accepted plastic film no longer had any place to send it.
Hard plastic containers such as milk jugs and yogurt tubs are still accepted — for now. Meanwhile, when it comes to plastic bags, consumers can take direct action and not use them..
When you buy groceries or anything else from a store, ask for paper bags. Yes, they are a little less convenient — it's harder to carry several at a time, and they have a tendency to tear — but they do break down in landfills, and you can line your kitchen garbage can with them. Paper mills also have an environmental cost, but so does nearly everything we use.
If the merchant you are patronizing doesn't have paper, bring your own reusable bags. And if you're just buying one or two items, you don't need a bag at all. Just say, "No, thanks."