Pottstown becomes first in US to collect flexible plastic packaging for curbside recycling

Mike DeNardo
September 24, 2019 - 4:00 am
J.P. Mascaro & Sons Exeter facility.

Courtesy of Frank Sau, J.P. Mascaro & Sons

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — With a pilot program, Pottstown becomes the first in the nation to have curbside recycling of flexible plastic packaging, such as granola pouches or bread bags. 

Residents in Pottstown can now toss things like potato chip bags and plastic shopping sacks in their curbside recycling bins. 

Frank Sau, a spokesman for waste hauler J. P. Mascaro & Sons, says it's a new effort to recycle so-called flexible plastic packaging.

"The material that shrink-wraps the cases of water people buy, paper towels, the diapers. You name it. That type of material that basically packages those products is called flexible plastic packaging," he explained.

Mascaro used a $2.6 million grant from a consortium of plastics manufacturers and consumer products companies to install optical sorting equipment at its single-stream recycling facility in Berks County.  

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That technology recognizes the plastics and air jets separate them from paper on the conveyor belt. Sau says the result is paper with less contamination and bales of flexible plastics for resale.  

He says flexible plastics collection is only available in Pottstown, but if it proves successful, it could be expanded to other municipalities.