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6/9/2018 7:49:00 PM
'Is plastic okay?' Some Local Hoosier officials say think twice

Jillian Ellison, Journal and Courier Education and Families Reporter

LAFAYETTE — They are as light as a feather, floating like kites through the air, catching on to whatever may be in their paths, which is why Darren Folk said plastic bags are a constant nuisance.

Folk, operations manager with Republic Services, said to combat the issue of stray litter like plastic shopping bags at the Clinton County Landfill, two full time laborers walk along Indiana 39, as well as up and down the landfill, to gather the strays that escape the mound on a daily basis.

"In addition to that task, they also erect and move fencing to better contain the stray trash that floats away," Folk said. "Those two tasks in total eat up between 50 to 60 percent of those workers' time."

Folk said the plastic shopping bags float like a kite when thrown in with trash, causing a never ending game of chase. On particularly windy days, Folk said additional temp workers are brought in to assist in catching the wind blown litter that picks up in percentage.

"The majority of the stray trash we see is plastic bags, but the other big culprit is plastic packaging for single use items," he said. "In the 18 years I have spent working in this industry, along with plastic bags, the small bags from chips and other small vending machine snacks are some of the biggest challenges we face because they are so light weight."

A recent news story of a pilot whale dying after consuming 17 pounds of plastic waste hit the internet, with photos of the over 80 plastic bags cut out of the whale's stomach.

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