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The original item was published from 1/2/2020 2:27:00 PM to 6/2/2020 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: January 1, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Brookings Plastic Bag Recycling Changes

Recycling Changes Graphic

Brookings Single Stream Recycling Changes


Due to changes in the recycling industry, starting January 1st, plastic bags will not be accepted through the City of Brookings Single-Stream Recycling Program. This includes individual bags and bags used to contain and collect recycling. 

Note: This change only applies to the Brookings Recycling Program. 

Changes do not apply to the City of Brookings garbage disposal/collection program. Plastic bags may still be used/disposed of in solid waste/garbage disposal carts.

Why is this happening?

Two main items have moved plastic bags out of the recycling stream.

First of all, the financial market for plastic bags has declined making it difficult to sell plastic bags to be made into new products.

Secondly, plastic bags are labor-intensive to recycle. Nationwide most single-stream recycling centers have stopped accepting film plastics like bags because they clog up and tangle in machinery causing it to break down, and many also get mixed in with paper when it is sorted. This applies to the company that the City of Brookings partners with for their recycling efforts.


We understand that this transition is quite different than what we have recommended in the past and we appreciate your patience as we adjust to the industry changes within our community.  Although we are going through this transition, we want you to know there are still options available for recycling and reuse of plastic bags available to you. When it comes to plastic bags, let's be good stewards of our community and of the earth.

You Can

REDUCE | or simply refuse

Avoid getting a plastic bag in the first place. Instead, bring a reusable bag when you go shopping.

REUSE | give plastic a new purpose

Give your plastic bags a second life by using them as trash liners, dog waste bags, etc. or, make them into something beautiful and practical like a reusable grocery tote bag. 

RECYCLE | drop them off

Bring your bags to a designated plastic bag recycling drop-off location in the community. You can drop them off at Hy-Vee or Walmart Supercenter.

TRASH IT | throw it away

As a last option, throw your plastic bags into the trash.



Where can info about what is accepted in the City of Brookings single-stream recycling service?. 


You can find info on the recycling section of the City of Brookings website.


If I can't use a plastic bag where should I place my recycling items?


Place them directly into your blue City of Brookings recycling cart (items will be loose without a bag). Consider containing items in an empty box.


May I put shredded paper in a bag?


Yes. There is an exception for shredded paper. It may be placed in a plastic bag which will be removed at the recycling center before processing.

In the video interview below, Todd from the Brookings City Landfill discusses changes to Brookings Single Stream Recycling which will be taking place in 2020.

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