Blog Post

Recent restrictions on the import of recyclable materials into China have forced businesses, institutions, and governments to focus more on the quality of their recyclables at the point of generation. The impact of the Chinese National Sword policy, and other regional market disruptions, have led the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to work together with stakeholders across the state to understand challenges with collecting and processing recyclables.

As highlighted in the MassDEP’s Recycle Smart MA initiative, plastic bags are one of the main contaminants in the recycling stream. Plastic bags can get wrapped around key pieces of equipment in the materials recycling facility (MRF), causing delays, shutdowns, and safety concerns for workers. This process is visible in this short video developed by Recycle Smart MA. Learn more about this initiative in our blog.

It can be challenging for larger facilities with many recycling and trash bins to manage the transportation of materials without using plastic bags at all. In response, RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) has created a visual to help guide businesses and institutions on the best way to use plastic bag liners without contaminating the recycling stream. This graphic can be used in employee training or placed on equipment to ensure that staff are knowledgeable about and prepared for their roles to reduce contamination within the greater recycling program.

RecyclingWorks can help your business or institution evaluate your waste streams and address contamination challenges through our no-cost technical assistance. To speak with a recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at