Starting in January, the Moscow Recycling Center will collect plastic film the first Saturday of each month.

Moscow Sanitation Operations Manager Tim Davis made the announcement at Monday’s Moscow City Council Public Works/Finance Committee meeting.

The city of Moscow Sanitation Department, Latah County Solid Waste and Moscow Recycling held a plastic film collection and recycling event Oct. 26 at the Moscow Recycling Center.

Because of the large volume of plastics collected and great public interest observed at the event, Davis said he has been working on how to best implement plastic film collection at the recycling center.

“The largest challenge that we faced in doing so was finding adequate storage space for enough loose bag plastic to make a full bale,” he said. “While Moscow Recycling has made their small vertical baler available for the plastic film collected at the Moscow Charter School to help alleviate some of their storage issues, it is labor intensive, a bit inefficient and comes with some liability issues.”

Davis said the public can drop off plastic film, which includes produce and bread bags, grocery bags, cereal box liners, ice bags, Ziplock and other reclosable bags, case overwrap, newspaper sleeves, dry cleaning bags, plastic shopping bags and bubble wrap, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the first Saturday of the month.

Staff will be on hand the first few months to educate the public on what plastics are acceptable.

The plastic film collected will be baled, taken to Safeway by Moscow Recycling and then taken to TREX Decking Company, which uses recycled plastic film and reclaimed wood to create composite decking material.

Davis said he and officials are certain they will receive enough material each month to bale in the Moscow Recycling large baler on the same day that it is collected, eliminating the storage issue.

“Setting a schedule for the first Saturday of every month gives the public a level of certainty and is, I believe, frequent enough that storage should no longer be an issue,” he said.

Davis said Moscow Charter School and Safeway, both of which have been collecting plastic film, have experienced challenges associated with collection. He said the new collection program is an opportunity to remedy the immediate issues and long-term needs regarding plastic film collection in Moscow.

Davis said the new collection method is a pilot program and city staff will report the results of the program to the Moscow City Council after the first several months.

Kathryn Bonzo, a Moscow Charter School fourth grade teacher and Moscow city councilor, told the Daily News plastic film collection at the school became a safety concern after a driver, without permission, drove through a fire lane in the school’s construction zone and onto a sidewalk to make a plastic drop-off. She said the driver is not the only one who has unlawfully accessed the fire lane to deliver plastic.

While the amount of plastic dropped off at the school has tapered off since the school recently started construction, the school’s greenhouse, where the plastics are stored, is still reaching capacity.

Bonzo said the school collected about 500 pounds of plastic last month. She delivers the collected plastic to the Moscow Recycling Center every few weeks.

Bonzo said she is excited the city made the decision to start collecting plastic film once a month because the community is dedicated to recycling it.

She said she anticipates the school will continue to collect plastic film and drop it off at the recycling center, but that school officials still need to discuss the item.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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