Plastic Bags Get a New Life

Posted on Feb 28, 2018 in Education Center, Featured, Newsroom, Recycling, Stewardship

Plastic Bags Get a New Life

With plastic bags continuing to be an environmental concern, Rivanna Solid Waste Authority is doing its part to help.

Plastic bags that were collected throughout the previous year at McIntire Recycling Center were transported to the Trex company in Winchester, VA in February 2018.

In total, 41,000 lbs of plastic bags were baled and shipped for recycling. To put this in perspective,

  • One pound equals 700 bags
    • 28,700,000 bags were taken to be recycled into composite decking
  • According to the Trex website, a 500 square foot composite deck contains 140,000 recycled bags
    • 205 500-sq. ft. decks can be built with the plastic bags brought from McIntire Recycling Center

Did you know:

  • Every second, 160,000 plastic bags are used around the world. All together, it adds up to a trillion plastic bags being used every year.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a floating landfill of garbage in the Pacific twice the size of Texas, is mostly composed of plastic.
  • The amount of petroleum it takes to produce one plastic bag could drive a car 36 feet. The amount of petroleum it takes to produce ten plastic bags could drive a car the length of a football field.
  • An average family will use 60 plastic bags on four visits to the supermarket and that bag is used for an average of 12 minutes.
  • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most found in coastal clean-ups.
  • If we joined all the plastic bags in the world together, they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times.
  • Less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide. Once discarded, plastic bags will remain in the environment for 1,000 years before they decompose.
  • If just one person used recycled plastic bags over their lifetime, they would be removing 22,000 plastic bags from the environment.

So what can you do to help?

While it may not be possible to stop using plastic altogether, there are small ways to make changes that can have a big impact.

  • Bringing your own Eco-Friendly, reusable bags when you shop.
  • Find ways to reuse and recycle your plastic bags at home.
  • Take them to a nearby recycling center.
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