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Pellitteri Waste Systems is no longer accepting plastic grocery bags as part of its curbside recycling pickup program.

Previously, the waste management company accepted plastic bags as part of a “bag within a bag” program, where residents were allowed to stuff all their plastic shopping bags into one bag – no larger than a basketball – tie it shut and place it in their recycling bin for pickup.

Vice president Daneille Pellitteri told the Observer that not a lot of people were properly following that procedure, which can contaminate the rest of the recycling stream by “gumming up” sorting equipment.

While the company tried to make it work for residents to continue recycling plastic shopping bags, loose bags were becoming an increasingly problematic contaminant, as residents were not properly preparing the materials for the recycling sorting facility, Pellitteri said.

“We’re always going to do our best to recycle everything we can, and it’s unfortunate to pull out something we were offering,” she said.

Changes in the recycled materials buying market in China also influenced the decision, Pellitteri said.

Neal Patten can be contacted at neal.patten@wcinet.com.