LARGO, Md. (WNEW) – Pretty soon, residents of Prince George’s Co. will receive a postcard in the mail telling them they can no longer recycle plastic bags.

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

It may not appear serious, but the card is far from a joke.

County officials say plastic bags have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to machines at the county’s recycling facility.

“They cause major damage at our materials recycling facility,” Linda Lowe, a spokesperson for the county’s Dept. of Environment says.

Starting this summer, residents will no longer be able to put plastic bags in county recycling bins. They will either have to save the bags or take them directly to grocery stores who reuse them, county officials say.

But the recycle ban isn’t limited to the typical plastic grocery bags.

“Bread bags, your dry cleaning bags, fruit and vegetable bags – even your Ziploc bags,” Lowe says.

Those who still have the bags in their recycling bins will at first get a warning, then any bins with plastic bags won’t be picked up at all.

Lowe says this could be the first step for the county to actually ban the bags altogether.

“There is some talk about the county moving towards a plastic bag ban, but that has not happened yet,” Lowe says.

For more information on the recycling ban see the county’s Frequently Asked Questions – Recycling Plastic Bag Ban document.

WNEW’s Chuck Carroll contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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