Recycle plastic bags and peanuts

Dana Fowler, Special to The County
17 years ago

I was following a pickup truck this morning that had a load of trash on the back. There appeared to be two drums in the bed of the truck, as well as some other materials. The drums had no covers and the load was not covered with a tarp.     Then I saw it. A piece of plastic packaging flew out of the back of the truck. I saw his brake lights come on. Well, I thought, at least he is going to stop and pick up what he lost. NOT! He just slowed down, so that he wouldn’t lose more. But that didn’t work either because seconds later another piece of litter went flying off the back of the truck. This time it was a piece of paper about the size of your hand.
I considered following him to his destination and giving him a piece of my mind. Then I quickly reconsidered and realized I had given away pieces of my mind far too many times in my life and should hold on to what I have left. Seriously though, not only is littering one of my pet peeves, it is a violation of State law. I am happy to say that this particular incident did not occur in Presque Isle, but we all know that littering happens all too frequently here as well.
Bagging your trash will help prevent the smaller pieces from blowing out of your trash can, whether it is at the curb or on the back of your vehicle. Securing your load with a tarp will also help prevent materials from blowing off your vehicle and becoming an eyesore.
There are two other types of littering that you can help prevent. One is plastic shopping bags and the second is plastic peanuts, which are used as packing material. Both of these items are problematic for us at the landfill and the transfer station. Because they are so lightweight, they easily become airborne, especially on windy days. We are constantly picking the plastic bags and peanuts off the ground and along the fences at our facilities because they have become unsightly litter.
You can help us minimize this type of litter by recycling these two products. Plastic shopping bags can be placed in designated receptacles at the main entrance of many local stores. The collected bags are shipped to a centralized warehouse and then on to a mill where they will be recycled into new plastic bags.
Plastic peanuts, which are used as a lightweight packing material, can be reused as packing material. You can reuse them yourself as packing material or they can be taken to a shipping facility such as Goin’ Postal, where they will be reused. Be sure to keep the peanuts clean and dry or they will not be reusable.
In summary, remember to obey the law and secure your load on your vehicle. This will ensure that our streets and highways don’t become an eyesore. Going the extra mile of recycling plastic shopping bags and reusing plastic peanuts will help us keep our facilities looking clean. The extra effort will be well worth the result.
    Dana Fowler is the Solid Waste Director for the City of Presque Isle. He can be contacted at 764-2507.