WEB EXCLUSIVE: Plastic store bags can live on- as pine straw - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Plastic store bags can live on- as pine straw

David Carvin David Carvin

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -The plastic from which grocery bags are made is a valuable commodity, and is used to make many other  products. But only five to seven percent of the billion plastic grocery bags used in America every year are recycled.

The president of Textraw and Trinity Recycling Inc., David Carvin, is trying discover whether it is possible to make a green outcome profitable.

Textraw is a Thomasville business that produces synthetic pine straw from recycled plastic for landscape groundcover. After being picked up by the solid waste department, the bags are baled and taken to be processed back into pellets.

Carvin can then manufacture the synthetic pine straw product from the pellets. Carvin partnered with Thomasville city schools and Keep Thomas County Beautiful. 

Thomasville businessman David Carvin is the inventor of Textraw. A synthetic pine straw created from recycled plastic for landscape groundcover.

"We found out that it was very good for suppressing weeds and bugs and it looked really nice. It looked like it had just been set out for years and it cut down on maintenance costs," said Carvin.

Carvin says his most valuable resource is plastic grocery bags. "I saw a lot of it being put into landfills as a big environmental problem across the country. That communities were banning plastic grocery bags and that was material that was valuable to me."

Carvin took his product to Keep Thomas County Beautiful. And after much discussion they decided to use this as an opportunity to teach kids about recycling.

"It makes them feel like valuable citizens in our community and when they go home they tell their parents and their grandparents that this is important, that this does not go in the garbage. So it's made a big impact," said Pam Lister of Keep Thomas County Beautiful.

Teachers say unlike with other collection drives, there is no promise of a prize or party.

"We don't offer any incentive so they're just showing good character. You know they understand this is something we can do to participate to help keep our environment and our planet clean," said Teacher Kim Stewart.

Third grader Kevin Andrews says this has been a fun learning experience. "I learned that if we recycle bags, we can save the planet."

Teachers say the main goal of the project is to change the way young people think about recycling.

They hope one day recycling will be as natural as it is to throw something in the trash.

Organizers say the plastic bag collection project is still in the evaluation stages, but their goal is for the idea to spread to other communities around the country.

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