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Rhinelander Community Recycles More Than 3,000 Pounds of Plastic Bags

Mel's Trading Post
Emily Popp organized the Rhinelander community to collect more than 3,000 pounds of plastic bags this summer.

When Emily Popp started organizing a project to recycle plastic bags in Rhinelander last spring, she had no idea what it would become.

“I thought we’d be lucky if we got a thousand [pounds],” said Popp.

Nearly six months and 3,000 pounds of plastic later the project surpassed Popp’s wildest imagination.

“It went amazing. I’m so excited and so proud of the whole entire community,” she said.

The program recycles the bags through Trex. Trex uses plastic bags to make composite decking.

Rhinelander will actually get some of those bags back. The community needed to collect 500 pounds of bags for Trex to make a community bench.

“I wish we could get more than one, but we can only get one bench per six month period. So we’re getting one. I’m sure it will not be here for a while just with the way everything’s going but we got our bench,” said Popp.

Seeing all the plastic the community and Popp herself uses, it’s making her rethink her own habits when it comes to plastic use.

“I’m so excited. I’m so glad that we got to do this and that we got to recycle it, but now I’m kind of like how can we use less. What’s the next step. Being able to recycle it is amazing and I’m so happy we can do that what can we do to not have to recycle it and to not use it,” she said.

People can still drop of plastic bags at Mel’s Trading Post through the end of the month.

While the program is coming to a close, Popp hopes to do it again in the future.