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Orange Hefty Energy Bags piling up in Boise instead of being processed in Utah

Despite not being processed, the City of Boise said residents can continue to fill up the orange bags for recycling.

BOISE, Idaho — About a year and a half ago, the City of Boise rolled out the Hefty Energy Bag Program, which allows residents participating collect their hard to recycle plastics inside orange Hefty bags and toss them into the blue bin with the rest of the recyclables.

From there, the bags are sorted out at the Western Recycling Facility then shipped off to a plant in Utah called Renewlogy to be converted into diesel fuel. But for the past few months, a mountain of orange bags haven't left Western Recycling.

"The facility where we send a lot of the material, they are upgrading their machinery," Colin Hickman with the city of Boise said.

Hickman says these upgrades are essential for the diesel conversion program to work.

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"Renewlogy upgraded their machinery because what they were finding is a lot of the machinery in existence to deal with plastics is built for more rigid plastics like milk containers," Hickman said. "But now with this new program, we are able to accept a lot more films, wraps and plastic bags. So, it takes different types of machinery to process those."

Orange Hefty bags will continue to be stored at Western Recycling until upgrades at Renewlogy are finished in January 2020.

In the meantime, the city says keep filling the orange bags as usual.

"Residents that are participating in the program shouldn't see any impact to their service," Hickman said.

Hickman also says the temporary storage isn't costing the city any extra money, but he admits the Hefty Energy Bag Program has been met with unforeseen challenges and the city will continue to look for other ways to recycle.

"The city and its partners are really starting to explore other things out there that could be done with these hard to recycle plastics," he said.

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