Concerned about contamination in recycling, experts in the St. Louis region have declared that Saturday, April 13, is Plastic Bag Awareness Day.

The OneSTL Materials and Recycling Working Group says plastic bags too often make their way into residents’ recycling bins. Once at the recycling sorting facility they jam equipment and put workers at risk for injury.

“We’re going all out to educate people that plastic bags cannot be recycled in your home or workplace bin,” said Jenny Wendt, a member of the OneSTL Materials and Recycling Working Group and Senior Project Manager at University City.

“It can be confusing because many plastic bags have a recycling symbol on them, but that just indicates what type of plastic the bag is made of – not that it can go in your home recycling bin,” she said. “Plastic bags have to be recycled separately. Plastic bags and other plastic film should be brought back to grocery and retail stores for recycling.”

OneSTL has partnered with local retail stores and business districts to spread the word. Dozens of volunteers will be stationed at stores throughout the day, handing out flyers and answering questions about recycling. Some stores will hand out free reusable shopping bags and other giveaways.

Participating local stores include all four Straub’s locations (Central West End, Clayton, Webster Groves and Town & Country), Lucky’s in Rock Hill and the Kirkwood Dollar Tree. Dierbergs has signed on as a partner to promote the plastic bag awareness message.

Various business districts in the region, including Kirkwood, Maplewood and Clayton, are also giving out reusable bags or other discounts or prizes in partnership with this educational campaign. Stores in the Loop in University City are offering the first 500 guests a free trolley ride ticket when they bring their own shopping bags.

Stay up to date with Plastic Bag Awareness Day promos and freebies on Facebook at OneSTL. For a list of plastic bag recycling drop-off locations, visit www.RecycleResponsibly.org and click on the link to Plastic Film Recycling.