"Tanglers" are problem items at recycling facilities aptly named for their issue: getting tangled in recycling equipment. Plastic bags and film are tanglers that cannot go in your blue bins. Despite their troublesome nature in blue bin recycling, plastic bags and other film plastics are recyclable at the District Transfer Station in Middlebury. The Addison County Solid Waste Management District offers special recycling of polyethylene plastic bags, film, and wraps.
Not all bags and films are polyethylene. To tell if your item is polyethylene and acceptable in this program look for a label that reads: PE, HDPE, or LDPE and/or a number 2 or 4. For items without labels, or if you are uncertain, use the thumb test to determine if it is PE. Pull on a small section of the plastic with your thumb: if the plastic easily stretches before it tears, it could be PE. If it is crinkly, tears without any stretch, or has a label other than 2 or 4, it is not made from polyethylene. Plastic bags and films that are not polyethylene are not accepted.
While we appreciate all enthusiasm for recycling, it is important to recycle right. Common mistakes placed in this program are manila envelopes, paper envelopes lined with bubble wrap, candy wrappers, cellophane, chip bags, frozen food bags, grape bags, grain and feed bags, pet food bags, cherry bags, meat and cheese packaging, metallic and foil packaging, mulch and soil bags, vacuum seal bags, and pre-washed salad mix/lettuce bags. Please place these items in the trash instead.
Remember: when in doubt, throw it out. Contamination from non-polyethylene materials degrades the product and reduces the value of the recyclable. To keep the program successful, there needs to be clean material!
For residents, there is no charge to use this program. For businesses, there is a charge of $10 per load with a limit of 1 cubic yard a week.
View the A-Z Guide to learn more about plastic bag and film recycling. For questions or other concerns, call the District Transfer Station (802 388-2333). We are here to help!