Black plastic has been in the news lately. The reason? It’s no longer recyclable in Chittenden County. Several Vermont breweries took quick steps to adapt to the change.
“The news came at just the right time,” says Renee Nadeau, co-owner of Rock Art Brewery of Morrisville. “We were just about out of the black ones, so we placed an order for green.” The new color will appear on the shelves as the black ones sell out.
14th Star Brewing Co. CEO Andrea Gagner contacted CSWD as soon as she learned that black plastic wasn’t recyclable anymore. She wanted to make sure that they were switching to a can holder that wouldn’t end up in the landfill.
“We are very passionate about our community – not only what directly impacts the citizens, but the environment as well.” 14th Star Brewing Co. is currently looking to sell their stock of black plastic can holders to another brewer out of state.
Rock Art has been brewing beer for 19 years and have designed their process and packaging to enable them to keep their environmental footprint to a minimum. “We recycle our water, we minimize packaging, and use recycled paper for our case boxes,” says Nadeau.
If you haven’t yet heard, black plastic is no longer recyclable in Chittenden County because the recycling markets—global companies that buy our material —no longer want it. You can’t “un-black” black, which limits what it can be recycled into.
We depend on the money we make selling recyclables to pay for the recycling program, including operating and maintaining CSWD’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), paying the people who work there, and providing blue recycling bins and tools at no charge to residents and businesses.
Recycling is definitely not without cost. Fortunately, black plastic makes up only 0.06% of what we receive at our recycling facility, and we’re hoping that number shrinks even farther as consumers increasingly choose products thoughtfully packaged in recyclable materials.
What can you do?
Seek alternatives to black plastic packaging and products. There are many out there and every purchase you make validates the decisions manufacturers have made for their product design and packaging choices—including the right ones.