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Plastic bags are contaminating recycling process in Santa Barbara county

If you’ve been putting plastic bags in the recycling bin, you’re doing it wrong. Santa Barbara County officials say plastic bags are making the recycling process harder.

“Plastic bags are the number one contaminant that we see in people’s blue con-mingled recycling containers,” explained a spokesman for the County Public Works Department, Carlyle Johnston.

Johnston said there hasn’t been a market for plastic bags at the county level in more than five years. He said they’re also problematic because they get tangled up with other items.

“We often pull other items off the line with them.”

Those items become un-recyclable, too.

Officials are encouraging shoppers to re-use their plastic bags. One Santa Maria chef said he’s already doing that.

“I go shopping every day, so I reuse them every day,” said Richard Korwes.

Other shoppers said they’re already disposing them as indicated.

“I throw them in the trash,” said Arthur McCormack.

Consumers can also drop off the plastic bags at supermarkets like Alberston’s.

“When I have a lot, I bring them here and put them in the box they have in there,” said Albertson’s shopper Dean Robertson.

Film plastics such as plastic wrapping, saran wrap, or small plastic pouches, are not recyclable either.

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