When China announced in 2017 that it would no longer accept recycled plastics from U.S. cities beginning January 1, 2018, officials at the City of Boise Department of Public Works were determined to keep the city's plastics out of the county landfill. While many other American cities are still in the lurch of the plastics problem, Boise started rolling out its "orange bag" solution to city residences this spring.
Boise is teaming with Republic Services and Salt Lake City-based Renewlogy to repurpose hard-to-recycle plastics into commercial-grade diesel fuel. The process begins with orange Hefty EnergyBags, which are still being distributed to Boise households. To help with some of the costs, Boise received a $50,000 grant from Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics and the Keep America Beautiful initiative. The city agreed to absorb the rest of the program cost, saying no additional fees would be assessed to Boise residents, at least for the time being.
All the while, most Treasure Valley communities remained on the sidelines. For instance, Meridian officials told Boise Weekly in January that they saw the Boise effort as a "pilot program," adding, "We want to make sure something like that is going to work for other communities."
But at Garden City City Hall, officials were already in conversation with their Boise counterparts about a possible partnership.
"The talks are very preliminary," Boise Public Works director Steve Burgos told BW in March. "But yes, we can tell you that Garden City is very interested in the orange bag program. We're working on a possible agreement."
Possible became official on June 5, when a formal Memorandum of Understanding was put before the Boise City Council which adds Garden City to the Hefty EnergyBag program. The six-page MOU indicates the agreement will run for a minimum of two years and Garden City will cover all of its associated program costs, beginning with $21,480 for 3,000 packages (each containing 26 of the orange bags), which will soon be distributed to Garden City residents.