Behind the scenes look at the orange bag recycling program

BOISE - As many residents already know, cities around the Treasure Valley have started introducing the orange bag recycling program, however, what a lot of people are still curious about, is what goes in the orange bag, and what happens with it later.

The bright orange Hefty EnergyBags were introduced in mid-April, in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and Garden City, just after China's ban on imported plastics. This was the plan for these cities to alleviate landfill costs and do their part to protect the environment.

Colin Hickman, Communications Director in the Public Works Department with the City of Boise said, "The ability to now, instead of shipping materials to China, to keep that more regionally, it was a win-win for the city of Boise and its residents."

So the city teamed up with a Salt Lake City based company to implement a system to keep plastics out of the landfill. Hickman said the company takes the plastics off of Boise's hands at no cost, which means the city is also not incurring any landfill costs for the plastics.

But it isn't quite that easy, first the orange bags are picked up by the Republic Services recycling trucks, then they are taken to Western Recycling where the employees are tasked with pulling those bags out, isolating them into shipment form, and sending them off to Utah.

While the program has been considered successful so far, there have been a few setbacks with communication. Like letting people know what goes in the orange bag, and also making people aware that the orange bag goes inside the recycling bin. 

So what does go in the orange bag? Curb It Boise has your list, here.

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