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Did Drop-site Vandal Have a Message?

Posted on December 28th, 2018

drop-site recycling bin with black dots painted on labelsRecycling program staff from Emmet County found extensive spray painting on a “mixed-containers” (bottles, jugs, jars, cups, trays, etc.) recycling bin located at the drop site behind Toski-Sands Plaza in Petoskey Monday morning. But, they report, the vandal may have been well-meaning, if misguided.

The paint specifically covered over small yellow decals with the message “no bags here.” The decals were placed on many mixed-containers bins this fall to address a problem with plastic bags being put in the mixed-containers bins. Plastic bags are recyclable but belong in the “papers-boxes-and-bags” bin or curbside rolling carts.

Emmet County Recycling (ECR) collects plastic bags with the paper and boxes because the factory that recycles the plastic bags—Trex, a manufacturer of composite decking—needs the bags to be dry. The mixed-containers come with enough residual liquids to contaminate the film-plastic bags.

The painter left no other marks on the bin, leading ECR communications coordinator Kate Melby to conclude that they vandal may have thought the yellow decals were inaccurate. “They may have been advocating for plastic-bag recycling. Many people think—intuitively—that plastic bags go with the other plastics: in the mixed containers with the plastic bottles, cups, tubs, and trays. Perhaps this individual thought


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