IW receives plastic bag grants

Published 10:33 pm Saturday, June 20, 2009

ISLE OF WIGHT — Isle of Wight County recently received a $28,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for a recycling program to help combat the problem of plastic bags in farm fields.

The county also received a $2,000 grant from the Retail Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads for related retail signage.

Plastic bags are a serious contaminator for the cotton industry. Plastic that gets picked up in cotton harvesting equipment cannot be separated out during the ginning process and decreases the price a grower receives.

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“Plastic bags not only litter the cotton fields and harm animals, but they also affect tourism, water quality and so many other things,” said Rachel M. Chieppa, rural economic development manager for Isle of Wight. “The grant will help provide consumer and youth education about recycling, while providing measurable results.”

The county will kick off a recycling program in early August by offering more recycling opportunities for residents. Recycling containers donated by Trex, a Winchester-based company that makes composite lumber out of plastic, will be placed at three county convenience center sites and a local shopping center.

As part of the kick-off event, the county will distribute reusable shopping bags with the program’s tagline, “Isle be green, shop clean.”

Grant money also will be used to purchase a baler so the county can bale recycled plastic bags and sell them to Trex.