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PLASTIC BEACH GENERAL FAQs

Where does Plastic Beach operate?

We offer on-site pickups for businesses throughout San Diego County, from Oceanside to Chula Vista. Our residential curbside pickup service is available based on interest in specific geographic clusters. For example, curbside pickup is offered in the 92001 (Encinitas) zip code area, where numerous households have shown interest in and actively participation in our program. Additionally, we collaborate with businesses across Southern California, as well as extending our reach across the United States and abroad to help us spread awareness about the significance of plastic wrap recycling.

Why the name “Plastic Beach”?

Our founder, Matthew Clough has always been a big fan of the band Gorillaz and was inspired by their 2010 album of this name.

Can plastic bags, bubble wrap, etc. all be recycled?

Yes, most plastic wrap/bags are a polyethylene (PE) material and as such are very recyclable. If marked, these soft bags will have a ‘2’, ‘4’.

 

Can I put my plastic bags into my curbside recycling?

Unfortunately, no! EDCO, Republic, and Waste Management all refuse curbside recycling of plastic wrap as they interfere with their conveyor belt sorting regime. Meaning they go to Landfill whether you put them in a blue bin or the trash!

 

Apart from Plastic Beach, where can I recycle plastic wrap then?

A few stores such as Walmart, Stater Brothers, Kohls, etc. do have small-sized plastic wrap recycling bins, but recent articles have cast doubt on whether these bags even get recycled. In any event, these store-based collections are not suitable for the van loads of plastic wrap we collect weekly!

 

Why do we need to recycle plastic wrap?

Plastic is highly recyclable, so basically, we are throwing away the raw materials that could be used to make and re-make plastic bags over and over. In our case, we forward the collected and baled plastic wrap to the US company TREX who make decking planks from them!

Where does Plastic Beach collect the plastic wrap/bags?

Most retailers see a LOT of items pre-wrapped in plastic wrap (bags, packaged with bubble wrap and air cushions, etc.) that will be removed before being placed on display – at present this is almost always thrown in the trash, but we are already working with over 20 companies of all sizes to help provide a recycling solution that is easy for them to use. For example, some of the local businesses we are already helping are Jimbo's, Cardiff Seaside Market, Hansens, SurfRide, and numerous others!

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s there a cost to these programs?

Yes, your donations and subscriptions help us cover our collection costs, maintaining our 12-foot-tall industrial baler, vehicle, and other standard operating costs for a business. Of course, as a 501c3 non-profit, Plastic Beach is eligible for donations from people and businesses that want to help us tackle this previously ignored problem.

Why would a business use Plastic Beach’s services?

We aim to help engaged businesses reduce their landfill footprint, and we keep them updated on the amounts of plastic wrap they divert, for use in their own marketing, as well as encouraging peer respect and engagement.

Is there a profit in plastic bag recycling?

No. Plastic bags are reimbursed at approx. 14 cents per pound (when shipped as Lots of 15 x 800 lb. bales!) – as in the USA commercial recyclers are not interested in accepting this plastic wrap other than in these 800 lb. baled, bulk deliveries. This is the core reason Plastic Beach is alone in tackling this issue. To illustrate: 1 large cubic yard of uncompressed plastic wrap/bags comes in at around 15 lbs. or so, so when one factors in driving a collection route to pick up these light but large-sized collections from even local businesses it simply becomes cost-prohibitive.

So, what does Plastic Beach seek to achieve?

First, we aim to educate others that plastic wrap can and should be recycled; and encourage them to use the few recycling facilities offered by Walmart, etc., already. Secondly, we are working hard to establish relationships with retail partners who would previously just be throwing these bags in the trash, and instead offer solutions to collect and divert them to bulk commercial recyclers to accept these un-baled bags in bulk. By working with suppliers using plastic bags, and the plastic bag industry itself, we can promote the logic of using increasing amounts of recycled materials in their products and switching away from plastic where possible – all while lobbying our local governments to have our community trash and recycling services start to accept this plastic wrap!

How can you help?

We are looking for advocates to help get the idea out that plastic bags are recyclable but NOT accepted by present curbside recycling – this can be through social media, and visits to select retailers, schools, and community organizations. In addition, ask your favorite retail store or even the business you work at to look at their plastic wrap situation and consider joining Plastic Beach’s program.

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