Frequently asked questions

What is Obaggo?

Obaggo is a company dedicated to helping consumers recycle their plastic bags and packaging, specifically, clean-dry polyethylene. We market a device that allow consumers to thermoform their bags into "pucks", which are valuable commodities, as opposed to plasic in bag form which is a contaminant to the recycling stream.

How does the appliance work?

It's very easy. Simply save up about 4 ounces of clean and dry polyethylene packaging, the equivalent of about 15-18 typical grocery bags, and place them inside one of the bags. Stuff that inside the Obaggo device and close the lid. Press the start button and wait. The device will heat and compress, and when the puck is cool enough to remove the indicator light will show "green" and it is done.

Is it safe to use inside the home?

Rest assured that the Obaggo device has been extensively tested for indoor air quality (IAQ) issues and was found to be safe to use in the home. We would not expose our own families to air toxins and we wouldn't expose your families either.

How much energy does Obaggo use?

From an energy cost perspective, Obaggo uses less than 0.04 kWh per puck, or about $0.01 at current electricity rates. A typical household of 2 might expect to create 2 pucks per week or 104 per year, at an electric cost of about $1. From an efficiency perspective, Obaggo uses approximately 290 kJ of energy to make a puck, and the puck itself will contain approximately 6000 kJ of energy. So there is approximately 95% energy recovery.

Isn't it better to ban bags?

Obaggo believes that bag bans have merit, but are only a partial solution. Single-use plastic grocery bags are only one of the many different types of thin-film packaging that we have to deal with in our homes. We also have cereal box liners, bread bags, paper-goods overwrap, shipping pillows, dry-cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, vegetable bags, and many others. It is not going to be possible to ban all of these items. Obaggo believes the best solution is a combination of all approaches; Reduce (bans), Re-Use, and Recycle. Obaggo is focussing on the Recycle part.

Isn't it better to take bags back to the retailer?

Certainly! By all means, people should save their clean and dry plastic packaging and take them back to the bins placed at the front of retail stores. There is no need to purchase an appliance. Obaggo is simply offering an alternative to people who would prefer to handle their recycling at home in their kitchen. One benefit of the Obaggo solution is you don't need a drawer to store your bags before taking them to the store, and you don't need to remember to bring them with you when you go shopping. Just make your Obaggos when you have a small bunch of bags, and throw them in the recycling bin.

What kinds of plastic can you put in Obaggo?

When in doubt, throw it out! This can not be emphasized more. If you are not sure if something can be recycled, please don't risk contaminating the recycling stream, and simply throw it away. Even a small amount of contamination can be devastating to the recycling system. You can put all kinds of "polyethylene" (PE) into the Obaggo, but it is not always clear what is PE and what isn't. All bags that are clearly marked #2 (HDPE - high density polyethylene) or #4 (LDPE - low density polyethylene) are good, as are all of the materials listed on the instructions provided with Obaggo, such as cereal box liners, bread bags, zip-lock bags (with the hard plastic zipper removed), etc. Some clear film looks like plastic but is really "cellophane". Cellophane is typically very clear and rips very easily. Some bread comes in a polyethylene bag, but has an inner cellophane bag for freshness. Please just recycle the outer polyethylene bag. Bags with multiple layers are not recyclable and must be disposed of as waste or will contaminate the recycled plastic. Bags with food residue or are otherwise dirty are contaminants, since plastic film is not washed when it is recycled. When in doubt, throw it out!

How can buying an appliance to help with recycling be "green"?

Obaggo is committed to helping divert plastic from the waste stream, where it could take 1000 years to degrade, to the recycling stream, where it can be made into useful products. Each Obaggo device can process hundreds of pounds of plastic over its life, easily exceeding the environmental cost of producing the device. Obaggo also accepts "extended producer responsibility" for the products we make. This means that the purchase price of our products includes the cost of shipping the device back to us when it is at end-of-life, and we will safely and efficiently dispose of the device. Obaggo also supports "right to repair", and makes replacement parts available as well as instructions for how to fix the most common problems. Extending the life of an appliance by repairing it is one of the most important things we can do to be sustainable.

How does making my bags into a "puck" make them recyclable?

Plastic bags and packaging in their original form are less than worthless in the recycling stream. Bags placed in curbside bins get contaminated in the collection process by the items they are comingled with, and often from the collection truck itself, since often recycling trucks are used to collect trash and recyclables in separate runs. Once the bags make it to the material recovery facility (MRF), they get dumped onto sorting equipment. At significant cost, manual laborers are required to pull the bags from the conveyor belts, and those bags that get past the laborers often get caught in the sorting equipment and jam them up. Almost all MRFs must shut down multiple times a day so people can "cut-out" bags that have gotten wrapped around the gears of the machinery. Obaggo pucks are specifically designed to hold together through the MRF sorting process. Since Obaggo users are trained to use only clean-dry polyethylene, and since the pucks are thermoformed and sealed, this valuable commodity can move effortlessly through the process with no manual intervention. Obaggo disruptively changes the economics of plastic bag recycling, turning a money-losing commodity into a profitable commodity.

Is there a market for Obaggo pucks?

Yes. Plastic reprocessors, who convert post-consumer plastic into pellets, have analyzed Obaggo pucks and determined that they are a purchasable, usable commodity.

What kinds of products can Obaggo pucks be made into?

Post-consumer plastic bags and film are a valuable commodity that can be made into many different kinds of products. One of the most common products is plasticized wood, which is then used in outdoor decking and park benches and other products. Other products include irrigation pipe, black garbage bags, and some bags are made into new bags in a closed-loop.

© 2019 by Obaggo Recycling, LLC

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