COOPERSTOWN – Otsego County Conservation Association has added wood pellet bags to the list of items being collected for recycling at Earth Festival.
“More and more people are using wood pellets to heat their homes,” said Martha Clarvoe, OCCA’s special projects manager. “People need a way to get rid of the plastic bags that pellets are delivered in, instead of throwing them away.”
Wood pellets are typically packaged in 40-pound bags made of #4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Clarvoe explained. Homeowners use one or more bags each day of the heating season.
“That’s a lot of bags going to the landfill,” Clarvoe said. “Pellet bags are made of a type of plastic that can be recycled; unfortunately, the recycler who takes the county’s recyclables doesn’t currently accept this kind of plastic.”
For the past year, OCCA has been working with Cornell University, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, and area farmers on a program called RAPP—Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project. Through RAPP, various farm plastics, such as bale wraps, net twines, and silage bags, can be collected and recycled.
“The recycler we work with through RAPP accepts pellet bags,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “However, RAPP is focused on farm plastic, and doesn’t have the funding to collect residential plastics. In this instance, we’ve made special arrangements to collect and store the clean and empty wood pellet bags until we can include them with the farm plastic.”
OCCA’s first collection site for wood pellet bags will be at Earth Festival on Saturday, April 12 at Milford Central School, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.The event is free, and so is the recycling. Clarvoe noted, however, the bags need to be handled properly.
“Bags must be empty of all pellets,” said Clarvoe. “Roll or fold the bags and stuff them into another empty pellet bag. When that bag is full, store it where it will stay clean and dry. And don’t mix the bags with other types of plastic or garbage.”
In addition to plastic, Earth Festival will continue to collect the following items: clean, white Styrofoam, sneakers and shoes for Soles to Share, VCR tapes, CD discs and jewel cases, audio tapes and cases, print cartridges, and cell phones. For details about Earth Festival or the pellet bag recycling, contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.