NOTICE 4/5/2024 @ 7:30am: North Kent Waste & Recycling Center is in the final stretch of its expansion construction. Our recycling drop-off stations at this site have been temporarily moved — click here for the details. Stay tuned here on our website or our social media for updates!

Plastic Shopping Bags and Shredded Paper No Longer Accepted in Curbside Recycling

December 3, 2019

New Year, New Recycling Rules! The Kent County Recycling & Education Center will no longer accept plastic shopping bags and shredded paper starting Jan. 1, 2020, the Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW) announced today.
“Our goal is to get all materials that come into our facility into recycling markets,” said Dar Baas, Kent County DPW director. “Over the last several years, it has become increasingly difficult to sort bags from the other recyclables and the bags aren’t able to be recycled after they pass through a system like ours.”

A Kent County employee cleans plastic bags and other ‘tanglers’ from the sorting equipment at the Recycling & Education Center.

Plastic bags create operational challenges at recycling sorting centers, including shutdowns from the bags tangling around machinery and bags mixing with bales of paper. Lacking a recycling market for bags from curbside recycling collection, Kent County has paid to send them to an engineered fuel facility in Indiana. This is the only recyclable item sorted by Kent County that does not go to a recycling market.

The recycling industry standard is to encourage residents to take bags back to retail shopping centers that offer a clean, dry collection system specifically for bags. If residents have clean, dry plastic bags they would like to recycle, Kent County DPW encourages people to drop off plastic bags at participating stores.

Shredded paper contaminates glass that has been sorted for recycling. Shredded paper is no longer accepted at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center.

Additionally, the Recycling & Education Center will no longer accept shredded paper which is often too small to get detected and sorted accordingly. Kent County encourages residents to shred and dispose of only what is necessary for security purposes and recycle whole pieces of paper.

To hear more about the decision behind no longer accepting shredded paper or plastic bags at Kent County Recycling & Education Center, click here.For more information about recycling plastic bags and other items, visit


You can find a list of accepted materials for recycling in your curbside bin or drop-off for Kent County Recycling & Education Center by clicking here.

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