Talking trash with Plastic Free Peninsula

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 7:00am

As everybody is staying home these days with tons of groceries and toilet paper, cleaning the closets and “decluttering,” we suddenly are overloaded with trash. But, as you know, there’s no recycling at the dump during the coronavirus crisis. Everything goes in the main trash bin (no need to separate, says Steve Lewis, manager of the Boothbay Refuse Transfer Station).

What to do? Some of our trash, certain plastic products and paper, can still be recycled and turned into decks, porch furniture, benches and other useful items. Where do we go to dispose of that plastic? We’ve all walked by those blue bins inside the Hannaford main entrance many times, but do you know exactly what they are for? Turns out Hannaford has a big recycling program, nationwide. And people are using it. Now we may need to use it all the more.

On Tuesday, March 17, Governor Janet Mills and the state legislature came up with a package of emergency measures to respond to COVID-19. They included “delaying the effective date of the single-use plastic bag ban to January 15, 2021.” This is in response to advice from health officials that reusable bags can retain the COVID-19 virus for hours and in some cases days.

Hannaford is now offering single-use plastic bags for the duration. They have not banned the use of reusable plastic bags but please disinfect after each use. If you use the single-use bags, don’t save them for storing other items; bring them back to Hannaford for recycling. This is only a temporary solution for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, but an important one.

So that’s what those blue bins are for….recycling single-use plastic bags, plus much more: Plastic retail bags, bread bags, case over bags (found on diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.), dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, pellet bags, zip lock bags, produce bags, bubble wrap, salt bags and cereal bags. Think thin plastic … not plastic bottles, milk bottles, plastic boxes, cling wrap, pre-packaged food bags, frozen food bags or prewashed salad bags. Follow the guidelines posted above the bins, and you’ll be helping to re-use plastic.

One final note: Plastic Free Peninsula was planning a big Talking Trash event to celebrate Earth Day in April. Instead, we will be bringing you suggestions, tips, and other information via Register articles now and then. Stay tuned for more information on how to make our peninsula plastic free in the near future. That’s our mission.

And please stay home, stay safe…reach out to your friends and neighbors through phone calls and social media….and if you meet them on a walk, smile, but stay six feet away. We’re going to get through this.