April 18, 2022 (MANKATO) — Mankato Area Zero Waste is awarding Mankato Clinic a Trex bench made of recycled plastics for collecting and recycling more than 600 pounds of soft plastics in the last year.
Mankato Clinic joined Mankato Area Zero Waste and Trex recycling program to give plastic film a new life. With three bins placed in Mankato Clinic locations, employees collected plastic film such as pallet wraps, plastic bags and other soft plastics. When the bins are full, Mankato Clinic volunteers bring the bags to local grocers who sell them to Trex to make decking, benches and outdoor furniture.
Dr. Katie Smentek, Mankato Clinic pediatrician, is a member of the Mankato Area Zero Waste Steering Committee. In 2021, she established plastic film collection at the clinic and employees got behind this environmental effort to reduce waste, recycle and reuse.
“We are celebrating Earth Day by being part of a recycling program that comes full circle. We can see that that the pounds of plastic film we collect across our clinic are transformed into eco-friendly, sustainable products,” Dr. Smentek said. “This is one small way we can help protect our earth for our children.”
Many local grocery stores have bins where people can recycle plastic grocery bags and soft plastics. Mankato Area Zero Waste expanded the program to help businesses and institutions do the same.
“In working with businesses and institutions in town, we have been very impressed with the recycling and reuse that goes on every day in many locations. Businesses get it—recycling and reuse are good for the bottom line and the planet,” Winkworth said. “We thought it might be harder for a medical center in a pandemic to recycle soft plastic but we’ve been very impressed with Mankato Clinic’s effort. They’ve collected pallet wrap, plastic bags and other items in our bins from receiving areas, offices and staff break rooms where reuse wasn’t possible. Our thanks go out to the Clinic leadership and the volunteers involved.”