b'Plastics Balloons onlocal beachesare a particularcontribute about 10% hazard to wildlife.of our total garbagePlastics present some of the biggest challenges for householders. They take 300 years or longer to decompose and are made fromnon-renewable petroleum. The decomposition of some plasticfoams is believed to play a role in the destruction of the Earthsozone layer.Its hard to fi nd a Cape beach or pond shoreline that is free of plastic debris. Numerous water birds, marine mammals, and fish die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic.Even degradableplastics that are made to break into small particles in sunlight or in the soil raise con-cerns. While these products may lessen the danger of animal entanglement, many environmental scientists fear that the small particles pose a greater hazard than the larger, more unsightly plastic discards.The good news:Clean plastic bags are recycled at stores and supermarkets.Many plastics are now recyclable, notably those marked # 1 PETE and #2 HDPE. See: www.chathamrecycles.org for information on what types of plastics are acceptable at the Chatham Transfer Station.Styrofoam, plastic wrap, and plastic utensils go into the trash. The collection centers request that recyclable items be rinsed out well. Clean plastics shopping bags are recycled by local supermarkets.Page 37bluepages.indd 37 8/26/2009 1:51:40 PM'