July 24, 2015

Princeton Merchants Association Launches Plastic Bag Reduction Campaign

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The Princeton Merchants Association (PMA), in collaboration with local merchants, nonprofits and the Municipality of Princeton, has launched a single use plastic bag reduction campaign for the community.

“Learning our ABC’s” will encourage the reduction, reuse and recycling of single use plastic bags.  The effort will encourage merchants to “Ask First” if customers need a bag, encourage residents to “Bring Your Own Bag” (BYOB) and encourage the use of bins throughout town and homes for our residents and businesses to “Collect and Recycle” plastic bags.

Spearheaded by PMA, current participants include McCaffrey’s Food Market, the Princeton University Store, the Whole Earth Center, Craft Cleaners, Sustainable Princeton, the Princeton Senior Resource Center and the Municipality of Princeton.

“PMA is very pleased to offer this solution to the community and we look forward to working with our members and non-members to raise awareness around the importance of reducing and recycling single use plastic bags, film and wrap,” said John Marshall, President of the Princeton Merchant’s Association.

The purpose of “Learning our ABC’s” is to reduce the amount of single use bags and plastic films sent to the landfill. The effort follows the best landfill waste reduction strategy by emphasizing reduction first, then reuse, and lastly, recycling. PMA hopes to showcase Princeton as a model for voluntary bag reduction, and hopes that the campaign might quickly expand to neighboring municipalities, state, and nation.

The Princeton University Store and McCaffrey’s are currently the only locations for public collection and recycling of single use plastic bags.  Utilizing Trex Recycling via McCaffrey’s, this effort will initially place up to ten new containers at convenient locations around town. It also allows for collection and recycling of more than just single use plastic shopping bags. Residents will also be able to recycle newspaper bags, bread bags, food storage bags and other plastic film such as dry cleaning bags and that which holds bulk items together.

To encourage at-home recycling, McCaffrey’s will soon be selling BagSavR receptacles, which shoppers can use to collect plastics to bring back to any local collection container. Shoppers at McCaffrey’s can save $2 on a BagSavR when they bring in two full “bags of bags” back for recycling.

“We are very pleased to partner with PMA and others on this innovative program to reduce the number of single use plastic bags given to customers and to encourage residents to bring their own bags,” said Diane M. Landis, executive director of Sustainable Princeton. “Our curbside recycle program does not recycle plastic bags because they get caught in the machinery and eventually end up in the landfill. By increasing the number of plastic bag recycle containers around town we will reduce what would otherwise end up in our landfill.”