January 12, 2018

Plastic Film Recycling Challenge

The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) sponsored its second annual Plastic Film Recycling Challenge for local schools in an effort to promote and educate youth and the community on proper recycling of plastic grocery bags and other plastic film, which cannot be recycled through regular curbside recycling programs.

In 2009, New York State’s Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act went into effect. The law states that stores within 10,000 square feet or more of retail space and chains which operate five or more stores with greater than 5,000 square feet of retail space, and which provide plastic carry out bags to customers, are required to establish an in-store film plastic recycling program and ensure that collected film plastics are recycled.

“When residents place plastic film in their recycling bin, it contaminates acceptable recyclables and causes mechanical problems at the Recycling Center,” stated Authority Director of Recycling Emily Albright. “We encourage residents to utilize the plastic film recycling programs provided by retailers across the region,” she continued.

Sixteen schools participated in the Plastic Film Recycling Challenge and had six weeks to collect plastic film for recycling. Participating schools partnered with local grocery stores and delivered the plastic film directly to them for proper recycling. The initiative focuses on collecting clean, dry, plastic film to keep it out of our region’s landfill.

With the efforts of these schools combined, just over 5,700 pounds of plastic film was collected for recycling in 6 weeks – that is the equivalent of recycling almost 500,000 plastic grocery bags.

Below are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place schools in each category.


1st Place: McConnellsville Elementary School (Camden CSD)With 290 students, McConnellsville Elementary School collected 849.0 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 2.93 pounds per student.

2nd Place: Dolgeville Elementary School With 435 students, Dolgeville Elementary School collected 1,136 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 2.61 pounds per student.

3rd Place: Westmoreland Elementary School With 320 students, Westmoreland Elementary School collected 610 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 1.91 pounds per student.

The Authority would also like to commend Sauquoit Valley Elementary School, E.R. Hughes Elementary School, Clinton Elementary School and New York Mills Elementary School for their efforts in this Challenge!


1st Place: Dolgeville Middle School With 413 students, Dolgeville Middle School collected 1,021 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 2.47 pounds per student.

2nd Place: Adirondack Middle School With 255 students, Adirondack Middle School collected 136.6 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 0.54 pounds per student.

3rd Place: Sauquoit Valley Middle School With 316 students, Sauquoit Valley Middle School collected 132 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 0.42 pounds per student.

The Authority would also like to commend Rome Free Academy, New York Mills Junior-Senior High School, Camden High School, Clinton Middle/High School, Utica Academy of Science Charter and New Hartford Senior High School for their efforts in this Challenge!

McConnellsville Elementary School will be awarded presentations from the Utica “Zoomobile” and Dolgeville Middle School will be awarded appearances from KISS FM DJs.

The following items cannot be placed in your curbside recycling bin, but can be recycled at participating grocery stores and other retailers:

  • Grocery Bags
  • Bread Bags
  • Case Overwrap
  • Dry Cleaning Bags
  • Newspaper Sleeves
  • Ice Bags
  • Wood Pellet Bags
  • Ziploc and other reclosable bags
  • Produce bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Salt bags
  • Cereal Bags

If you are unable to deliver your plastic film for proper recycling, please place plastic film in your regular garbage for disposal.

For more information about the Authority’s Go Green School Recycling Program, please contact Emily Albright, Director of Recycling, at (315) 733-1224 ext. 1600 or via email at emilya@ohswa.org. You may also ask questions and find information on the Authority’s Facebook page (Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority).