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P.G. County Sacks Use of Plastic Compost Bags

Joshua Garner | 1/2/2014, 4 p.m.
Prince George's County ban of plastic compost bags went into effect Jan. 1. (Courtesy of the town of Riverdale Park)

Prince George's County officials are urging residents to note a new law banning plastic compost bags that took effect Jan. 1.

The county's Department of Environmental Resources said the law prohibits the use of plastic bags for yard waste collection. Residents who bag their yard waste will now be required to put it out for pickup in paper bags or reusable containers with sturdy handles and tight-fitting lids marked "Yard Waste," officials said.

"As we shred our leaves, branches and Christmas trees, plastic bags clog the machinery, make a huge mess and contaminate our compost product. Then, we have additional costs disposing of them," said department director Adam Ortiz. "By using alternatives to plastic bags, residents will reduce needless pollution and costs and help our county go greener."

The law will not affect general trash collection, and residents will be given a grace period during the transition. Residents are also encouraged to compost leaves in their backyards or chop them with a mulching mower.

County officials said paper yard bags can be found in home improvement and grocery stores, often sold in bundles of five for about $2 a pack. Reusable containers can be purchased for $10 to $20.

For more information on how to prepare yard waste for collection, visit the county's waste management website.

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