Iowa grocers launched a statewide program this week to encourage customers to recycle plastic grocery bags or bring in reusable bags. Iowa Grocery Industry Association spokesperson Phillip Nicolino says the two-week long “Build With Bags” initiative includes several goals.
They include doubling the amount of plastic bags recycled in Iowa over the next two years. The effort involves informative displays and plastic bag recycling barrels in hundreds of grocery stores – including all Dahls, Fareway and Hy-Vee locations. Prior to this week’s program launch, Nicolino says the grocers conducted a pilot project with 40 elementary schools in Des Moines.
He says the schools recycled nearly seven-thousand pounds of plastic bags – the equivalent of 422-thousand bags – over a five-week period. The program is called “Build With Bags” because the plastic bags can be reused to make outdoor furniture or other equipment through a grant program with parks and schools. Nicolino says customers who take groceries out in plastic bags should bring them back during their next visit and place the bags in the recycling barrel.
“From there, the retailers send the plastic bags to a company that deals with the actual recycling of the bags. That gets turned into the furniture and equipment,” Nicolino said.