Plastic bags kept out of landfills, thanks to workers

Above, the plastic bags, once sorted at the Eagan facility, are bundled into large bales for shipment to a recycling facility out-of-state. Many city and county curbside recycling programs don’t accept plastic bags, so finding ways to recycle them properly can be a challenge.
Above, the plastic bags, once sorted at the Eagan facility, are bundled into large bales for shipment to a recycling facility out-of-state. Many city and county curbside recycling programs don’t accept plastic bags, so finding ways to recycle them properly can be a challenge.

 

 

Plastic bags will stay out of landfills and find new life thanks to ProAct’s hard-working crew. People with disabilities at ProAct sorted thousands of pounds of plastic bags for recycling after taking collections from area businesses, condominiums and ProAct’s assembly and packaging operation.

The piles of bags were assembled and compacted for the first semi-truck load shipment from ProAct’s Eagan facility. The truckload was bound for a Virginia destination and ultimately for use in new products.

ProAct Production Coordinator Jennifer Cavalier said plastic sorting is some of the best work for people with disabilities. The work helps people enhance their motor skills. “They work more effectively, and they’re productive,” she said.

As material collections continue to rise, Cavalier estimates the nonprofit will be able to ship about 20,000 pounds of plastic for recycling every seven to 10 weeks.

The recycling effort is connected with the “It’s in the Bag” shrink film and plastic bag recycling program led by the Recycling Association of Minnesota. ProAct’s mission is to serve individuals experiencing barriers to employment and self-sufficiency due to intellectual and developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues, traumatic brain injuries and other challenges. Learn more at: www.proactinc.org

 

 

ProAct’s Nate Thomeke separated plastic bags and packaging for recycling.
ProAct’s Nate Thomeke separated plastic bags and packaging for recycling.
ProAct’s plastic bag and material sorting efforts employ people with disabilities, who separate the materials into colored plastic, clean, dirty and non-recyclable. Bob Erickson is shown working in the foreground, with Trisha Zechmeister behind him.
ProAct’s plastic bag and material sorting efforts employ people with disabilities, who separate the materials into colored plastic, clean, dirty and non-recyclable. Bob Erickson is shown working in the foreground, with Trisha Zechmeister behind him.