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St. Lucie County's push to keep plastic bags out of the county recycling facility

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 09, 2019

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We talk a lot about recycling but are you doing it correctly?

St. Lucie County launched a new program to keep plastic bags out of the county’s recycling facility. The site that processes 150 tons of materials, which helps to keep it out of landfills.

“I do it for our future generations,” said Barbara Evans, a Port St. Lucie resident. “It’s for our planet.”

But county officials say even avid recyclers like Evans need a reminder.

The county’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that houses a single-stream recycling machine sorts approximately 300 items -- plastics, metal, aluminum, paper and cardboard -- each second. But plastic bags and wrap wreak havoc.

”The plastic bags and wrap - they get caught in the equipment, bind it up and they can cost taxpayer money when we shut down to unwrap it,” said Rebecca Olson, St. Lucie County Solid Waste Marketing and Quality Control coordinator.

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Through a partnership with the Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP) the county has strategically chosen four locations for county residents to properly recycle plastics that don’t belong in recycling bins. The new bins collect everything from plastic bags and bread bag to bubble wrap and clear wrap found on products.

”It teaches the next generation responsibility. To do the right thing. And to care for the planet that you live on,” said Olson. “Most people - if they can’t recycle plastic conveniently, they’re not going to do it.”

St. Lucie County’s pilot locations are:

· St. Lucie County Solid Waste Baling and Recycling Facility, 6120 Glades Cut-Off Rd., Fort Pierce;
· FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s Discover Center, 5600 US 1, Fort Pierce;
· The Port St. Lucie Community Center, 2195 SE Airoso Blvd., Port St. Lucie;
· Morningside Branch Library, 2410 SE Morningside Blvd., Port St. Lucie

Items that can go into the W.R.A.P. sites include:

· Plastic shopping bags
· Bread bags
· Bubble wrap
· Clear product wrap such as the wrapping around paper towels or paper plates
· Dry cleaning wraps
· Produce bags
· Drink case wraps
· Pallet and stretch wraps
· Newspaper bags