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Plastic bags on their way out for yard waste

May 14, 2023

Just as Jamestown residents are getting used to having both recycling and solid waste containers for their refuse, in several months they will have to get used to a different way to put out their yard waste.

On May 16 the Jamestown Town Council learned that beginning Sept. 1, High Point would be banning plastic bags for yard waste. Since Jamestown takes its collected yard waste to the Ingleside Compost Facility in High Point, this means Town staff will have to come up with a new way to collect the yard waste.

"Greensboro was the one that initiated the idea that their yard waste landfill would be moving to a non-plastic bag facility," said Town Manager Matthew Johnson. "They’re not going to accept anything in plastic bags. They were looking at paper.

"Paper presents its own problem," he added. "If it gets wet, it falls apart."

Once High Point no longer accepts the plastic bags, Jamestown will be forced to do the same.

Clear plastic yard waste bags such as these will be a thing of the past in Jamestown in a few months.

"We’ll be talking to you about that," Johnson told the Council. "We’ll come up with a plan of attack. Paul [Blanchard] and Jason [Pegram] are trying to figure out the next steps, We’ll have to come up with a solution for that or an education campaign to let people know. We’re still looking at all the types of things that we might be able to do."

The change will not affect loose-leaf pickup during the fall using the vacuum truck but people using rear bagger mowers can no longer dump the clippings into a clear plastic bag and put those bags at the curb. The Town will not be able to pick those up.

A release by the City of High Point stated, "The use of plastic bags poses many issues to City collection and disposal staff and equipment, long-term viability and significant environmental impacts. By prohibiting plastic bags in yard waste, the Ingleside Compost Facility will be able to produce a zero-waste, completely organic, compost and topsoil for our residents and commercial users."

Paper bags save natural resources and energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It can take nearly 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose at a landfill, compared to the one month it takes for a paper bag.

High Point is actually beginning the ban July 1 but will not start penalizing violators until Sept. 1 as a grace period for adjustment.

Other municipalities in North Carolina are also banning plastic bags for yard waste. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality will soon be updating their permit requirements. Very few municipalities still use plastic bags for collection.

In April, Greensboro announced it would consider banning plastic yard waste bags, switching to biodegradable paper bags, which can be ground up along with the other waste into compost or mulch. No further action appears to have been taken. Biodegradable paper bags can be found at hardware, home improvement and other stores.

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Clear plastic yard waste bags such as these will be a thing of the past in Jamestown in a few months. Keep it Clean. PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK. Don't Threaten. Be Truthful. Be Nice. Be Proactive. Share with Us. Success! Error!