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Iowa grocers, including all Dahl’s Foods, Fareway Stores and Hy-Vee, have rolled out a “Build with Bags “program spearheaded by the Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA), which encourages customers to recycle plastic bags. The program, which will run through Jan. 24, is being promoted via Build with Bags posters placed in the entryways of stores, near plastic bag-recycling barrels.
According to Jerry Fleagle, president of Des Moines-based IGIA: “Over the last several months, we have been working very diligently with key members of the grocery industry to bring this program into the forefront for Iowans. It’s something that we feel can have an extremely positive impact in our state.”
IGIA is working with partner groups Keep Iowa Beautiful, Metro Waste Authority, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and The Des Moines Register to promote the program, which has four main goals: (1) Double the amount of plastic bags recycled over a 24-month period, (2) Reduce consumption of plastic bags, (3) Increase use of reusable bags, and (4) Encourage purchases of furniture and equipment made from recycled plastic through a grant program for parks and schools.
The program was originally announced last August at the 2009 Iowa State Fair. Since that time, program sponsors and participants have been organizing and implementing all of the key elements of Build with Bags that extend beyond the in-store promotions.
“There are other parts to the program than just what we’re going to do in stores,” explained Fleagle. “This rollout is intended to shed a total spotlight on the Build with Bags program. But we’re also striving to give Iowans a recognizable name and philosophy that will bring long-term success to the program and the recycling of plastic bags.”
Other components of the program that Iowa stands to benefit from are its grant program and school recycling challenge. The grant program was developed to support Build with Bags’ primary goal of increasing plastic bag recycling. It was initiated to support “closing the plastic bag loop” by demonstrating how recycled plastic bags can be reused in the manufacturing of outdoor furniture and equipment.
“Build with Bags can be a viable option that people all around the country are looking for,” noted Fleagle. “The grant program gives communities a strong incentive to recycle plastic bags, and the school recycling challenge is great evidence of what can be accomplished with the proper level of support and participation.”