Recycling won't be accepted if it contains plastic bags as of June 1

A crackdown is coming that should have you reviewing your recycling habits.

Hard crackdown on the ban of plastic bags coming to Windsor-Essex

Plastic bags of any kind are not permitted in Windsor-Essex recycling. Your box won't be picked up if it has a bag in it, starting June 1.

A crackdown is coming that should have you reviewing your recycling habits.

The Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority has been dealing with up to 20,000 plastic bags and similar items in its recycling plant every day.

As of June 1, the organization will not collect recycling boxes or carts that contain plastic bags, tubes, wrap or packaging — even if they have a recycling symbol on them. 

"We will not be collecting recycle bins that have plastic bags in them. That's a hard deadline," said spokesperson Cat Griffin.

"Plastic bags have never really been allowed in our program, but the collectors were a little bit lenient. You know, if a box did have a plastic bag in it, they would get collected."

This includes plastic shopping bags, plastic used to wrap fruits and vegetables, or plastic packaging that deliveries or toys come in, for example. However, containers such as drink bottles, where the neck is smaller than the base, are acceptable. 

The crackdown comes because buyers of recyclables are demanding a cleaner product, said Griffin.

"The materials we send out has to be of very high quality," said Griffin. 

Here's a look at the plastics that are not allowed in the recycle box. (Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority )

People should not have loose plastic bags in their recycle bin, or line the box or use a plastic bag to contain their items. All recyclables should be placed loose in the bin. 

"People want to do the right thing. We just want to let them know the markets will not accept this anymore," said Griffin. "We have to stop this at the curb."

The ban applies to Windsor-Essex County single-family homes, townhouses, condos, apartment buildings, businesses,
institutions and industry — anywhere recycling happens. 


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