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When plastic bags and other items get tangled in the machinery staff must shut down sorting and cut them off the gears, one-by-one. This is dangerous for staff and shuts down the facility and sorting process, making it slower and more expensive to sort recyclables and get them ready for the next leg in their journey. Films and flexible packaging, wreak havoc on waste management systems. They are difficult to sort, contaminate high-value loads, and jam systems, which leads to significant downtime. This downtime drives up operational costs and leads to higher service fees to municipalities.
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Plastic bags, rope, electrical cords, string lights and clothing are all examples of "tanglers" - long or stretchy items that get tangled up in the gears of the machinery that sorts recyclables.