What we’ve collected so far!
(updated 5/21/24)

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-thermometer/.1,000lbsRaised 148lbs towards the 1,000lbs target.148lbsRaised 148lbs towards the 1,000lbs target.15%

an image of a white bin with green lettering and the NexTrex logoYou are probably aware that thin plastic film – such as bread bags or plastic mailers – is not recyclable in our bins at the town recycling center. But did you know that many of these films are capable of being turned into new plastic items such as composite deck and fence materials?

Cape Elizabeth is joining a plastic film recycling challenge sponsored by the maker of Trex® composite decking. The challenge will provide Cape Elizabeth with convenient bins for collecting recyclable plastic film like bread bags, bubble wrap, plastic mailers, and produce bags–the first of which will be located in the library’s entryway. Organizers, including the Cape Elizabeth Recycling Committee and a team of volunteers, are hoping to collect 1,000 pounds of plastic film over the course of a year, from Earth Day, April 22, 2024 until Earth Day, April 22, 2025.


In 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans used nearly 7 billion pounds of polyethylene films, bags, and wraps annually and that only 12% of that material was recovered for recycling. Plastic films cannot go into commingled recycling because they tangle the sorting equipment. Partnering with local repositories, Trex® helps keep 300-400 million pounds of plastic film from the waste stream each year.


What Can Be Recycled?

Collecting the right kind of plastic film and ensuring that it is clean and dry is very important.  Only polyethylene film is acceptable. Residents should look for #2 or #4 mark on the bag or film. Any color film and items with paper labels are fine.

In general, these kinds of items are acceptable:

• Bread bags
• Bubble wrap
• Dry cleaning wrap
• Newspaper bags
• Plastic shipping envelopes (no paper included)
• Produce bags
• Case overwrap (such as from water bottles or toilet paper)
• Cereal bags
• Ziploc and other reclosable food storage bags (cleaned of food residue)

Image of downloadable guide

Download a Handy Guide

Here's a one page flyer listing what can and can't be recycled as part of the NexTrex Challenge.

What Can’t Be Recycled

Items that are NOT acceptable are generally “crinkly, not stretchy” and include:

• Potato chip bags
• Pet food bags
• Candy wrappers
• Frozen vegetable bags
• Compostable or degradable wrap
• Cling wrap
• Six-pack rings
• Hot dog or meat wrap packaging
• Anything that is wet, dirty, or contaminated with food

If you’re not sure whether an item is acceptable, please leave it out!

An image showing items that cannot be recycled

Volunteers Needed!

If you would like to help out with this effort, we need volunteers to stop by the library and empty and weigh the contents of the collection bin. If you are interested in helping out, please sign up by clicking the button below!

If We Meet the Challenge…

If the Town of Cape Elizabeth meets the 1,000 pound goal in one year, Trex will award the Town a Trex furniture outdoor bench!