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Keyword: plastic bags
Photo of a group accepting the NAGC award

The Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s public service announcement (PSA), “Tangled Up!,” won first place in the PSA category at the 2019 National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards. Bureau employees Rashida White and Jeanette Garcia Polasky and interns Natalie Adachi and Jahi Thomas accepted the award at a reception last month in Arlington, Virginia.

The NAGC Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards competition opens at the end of November each year. Professional communicators from around the country volunteer their time and talent to judge entries in more than 30 categories. Finalists were announced in April and winners were recognized at the reception in June.  

Produced in-house, “Tangled Up!” demonstrates why items such as plastic bags and clothing, known in the recycling industry as “tanglers,” are not accepted by Baltimore County and other recycling programs across the country. More than 170 government, business, nonprofit and media organizations and industry professionals on four continents have shared the PSA on social media pages, blogs and websites.

“Tangled Up!” also earned the Bureau’s recycling staff a Silver Telly Award in the Social Video, General-Public Service and Activism category in May. And last month, the Maryland Recycling Network (MRN) honored the Bureau with the MRN Outstanding Government Leadership Award for its marketing campaign to educate people about tanglers, which included the PSA.

Baltimore County’s award-winning recycling PSA can be seen on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

40th Annual Silver Winner Telly Awards badge

Last month, the Bureau of Solid Waste Management announced that four members of its recycling staff won a National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Award for their contributions to the creation of Baltimore County’s comedic, silent film-style recycling public service ad (PSA), “Tangled Up!”

Now members of the County’s recycling staff have won a 2019 Telly Award for their work on the PSA.

Communications Specialist Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Public Information Specialists Rashida White and Anne Marshall and interns Jahi Thomas and Natalie Adachi were among the 11 county employees who worked on the PSA that earned them a Silver Telly Award in the Social Video, General-Public Service and Activism category. Other 2019 Silver Award winners include Verizon Media, The Humane Society of the United States and the National School Boards Association.

Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents, the Telly Awards honors excellence in video and television across all screens and is judged by more than 200 leaders from video platforms, television, streaming networks and production companies including Vice, Vimeo, Hearst Digital Media, BuzzFeed and A&E Networks.

Produced in-house, “Tangled Up!” shows why “tanglers” – items such as plastic bags and clothing – are not accepted by most recycling programs. The PSA has been shared on social media and blogs by more than 170 government, business, media and nonprofit organizations and industry professionals on four continents.

Watch and share Baltimore County’s award-winning recycling PSA on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.

A new public service ad demonstrates why Baltimore County doesn’t accept items such as plastic bags and clothing for recycling. Produced in-house by Bureau of Solid Waste Management employees, “Tangled Up!” shows how operations are halted daily at the County’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) because of residents putting “tanglers” in their recycling bins.

“Tangled Up!” will be shown before feature films at Cinemark Towson, AMC White Marsh and AMC Owings Mills through the end of January. It will also run on the County’s television channel, BCTV (cable channel 25 on Verizon and Comcast). Currently, the PSA can be viewed online at Facebook, YouTube and the County’s website.

What are Tanglers?

Tanglers are materials such as plastic bags and textiles that get caught in the MRF equipment and must be cut out by hand, one by one, for operations to resume. At the end of each day, the County uses 10 temporary employees to cut tanglers from between a few thousand “stars” on the MRF’s five sorting screens. Watch footage of the sorters at the County’s MRF becoming tangled with plastic bags. If residents kept tanglers out of the recycling stream, these employees could do other maintenance.

Recycling and Waste Prevention Manager Charlie Reighart said that keeping tanglers out of the recycling stream is part of an overall effort by the County to reduce contamination. Reducing contamination (non-recyclable items in the bin) has become more important due to efforts by China to ban imports of certain products and tighten contamination limits on others.

 “While we appreciate residents recycling, it is critical that they keep contaminants out of their recycling so that the County receives more money for its recyclables and produces quality material for new products,” Reighart said. “We hope this PSA will get people to think twice before they throw.”

Keep Tanglers Out of the Recycling Stream

The County asks residents to reuse, upcycle, donate or properly dispose of tanglers in a trash can instead of placing them in the recycling bin.

Local retailers often accept plastic bags for recycling. Residents are encouraged to visit abagslife.com or plasticfilmrecycling.org to find plastic bag recycling drop-off locations in Baltimore County. In addition, the Bureau of Solid Waste Management updates its Reuse Directory every two years to help residents find places to donate or sell clothing, linens and other items that the County does not accept for recycling. For tangler upcycle projects and reuse ideas, residents can follow Clean Green Baltimore County on Facebook or search Pinterest.

For more information on accepted recyclables, see the County’s website or call 410-887-2000.

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Revised October 25, 2019