NEW Zoo recycling program proves successful

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- We all try to do our part by recycling, but an everyday item many think is meant for the recycling bin – can’t be recycled that way.

“A lot of people don't realize that, and it's not something that you can throw in with your curbside recycling, with bottles and cans and such,” says Tricia Schuchart, a zookeeper at the NEW Zoo.

Schuchart is referencing everyday plastic bags, the kind often picked up at the grocery store. Instead of placing them in with recycling, they actually belong in a separate section.

That’s why the NEW Zoo has unveiled a new program, urging people to drop off their plastic bags, plastic films, and other items that don’t belong in the recycling bin.

“A lot of people don't realize that they can recycle their plastic grocery bags. A lot of grocery stores will have the drop off sites. Of course, now the zoo does too,” Schuchart says.

The Zoo unfiled the program at the start of May, and is already seeing success.

“I think we're up to 80, 85 pounds so far, in the first three weeks since we started it,” Schuchart tells Action 2 News. “Which if you think of the weight of one plastic bag, it doesn't weigh very much.”

Schuchart, who is the mastermind behind the program, says it will help keep the environment, and our wildlife safe.

“[Animals] will end up eating it, end up using it for nesting,” she says. “They'll end up, if they're eating one thing, plastic ends up in with the food.”

To protect both the environment and wildlife, the zoo has a goal of recycling 500 pounds of plastic bags by November.

The bags will be recycled into plastic lumber, that goes toward making benches or outdoor decks.