Department of Natural Resources to turn 1 ton of plastic bags into 15 benches

Delaware News Desk
DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens, DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin and Gov. John Carney watch Eco Plastic Products of Delaware CEO Jim Kelley explain how plastics are made into recycled products, like benches and picnic tables, at the business’ facility in Wilmington.
Gov. John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin unload some of the approximately 2,000 pounds of plastic bags that were delivered by Delaware State Parks to Eco Plastic Products of Delaware April 15. The bags, which are left over from when Delaware State Parks switched to corn and paper products for its Carry-in, Carry-out program in 2020, will be made into benches for the state parks.

In honor of Earth Month, Gov. John Carney joined Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn Garvin on April 15 to tour the facility where Delaware State Parks will have 15 benches made from excess plastic bags. 

In 2020, the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation converted its plastic carry-in carry-out bags at Delaware State Parks to corn and paper products. Left with an excess of plastic bags, the Division worked with Eco Plastic Products of Delaware, a nonprofit organization, to have the plastic bags turned into benches for Delaware State Parks. 

Each bench will be made of 127 pounds of plastic bags — approximately 30,000 bags. The excess plastic bags weighed about 2,000 pounds, the equivalent of about 450,000 plastic bags and enough to produce 15 benches for the parks. The benches will be placed throughout Delaware State Parks with informational plaques about the benches and Division’s Carry-in, Carry-Out Trash-Free Parks Program. 

Carry-In, Carry-Out, which was implemented in Delaware State Parks in 1994, asks visitors to take their trash with them when they leave, reducing the strain on limited resources and increasing the beauty of the parks. Corn and paper bags are now available in state parks to help visitors participate in the program. This program promotes recycling and has saved Delaware State Parks millions of dollars. It also helps keep Delaware State Parks cleaner for all visitors. 

For more, visit dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov.