We appreciate that The Advocate staff takes the time to insert the daily newspaper into plastic bags to ensure readers have a clean, dry newspaper. Can readers put these plastic bags in the recycling bins for weekly pickup, along with the newspapers that have been read?

Yes and no.

Unfortunately, the city-parish system cannot recycle these bags. "Please advise your readers to please not to put the plastic bags into the recycle bins," asks Richard Speer, director of the city-parish Department of Environmental Services.

"Plastic bags mess up the machinery at the MRF (materials recovery facility)," Speers said. "The MRF is a semiautomatic sorting facility with conveyors and mechanical sorters. The bags get wrapped around the various moving parts causing jams which shut the facility down while the blockage is cleared."

But there are alternatives.

"As a matter of fact, newspaper bags are recyclable; however, not within the city-parish system," says Stan Braud, The Advocate's operations director of circulation.

Braud said he reached out to one of The Advocate's suppliers, which directed him to plasticfilmrecycling.org. He said he "entered 70809 and multiple retailers in our area recycle these bags. Most are Walmart and Lowe’s locations that also offer recycling for their own bags."

By the way, the bags The Advocate uses from Continental Products also have the message: “Warning: Keep This Plastic Bag Away From Children; Misuse May Cause Suffocation."

Bluebonnet overlay

Please answer the following questions regarding the overlay by asphalt of a perfectly good concrete Bluebonnet Boulevard between Burbank Drive and the Reserve at Harveston development in Baton Rouge: (1) Why was it done? (2) Who authorized it? (3) Where did the money come from?

Bill Grass, public information officer, with the state Department of Transportation and Development, explains:

"This section of Bluebonnet had previously been overlaid in order to keep traffic noise to a minimum through the residential area. DOTD had to remove the existing asphalt in order to repair concrete that had broken below the asphalt. Once that was done, we placed back the same thickness of asphalt.

"This section is part of the entire Bluebonnet rehabilitation project that will repair pavement, sidewalks, curbs and gutters from La. 30 (Nicholson Drive) to just north of Interstate 10. Wheelchair ramps will also be installed as needed. This project is part of the Road Transfer Program; once complete, it will be handed over to the city of Baton Rouge for day-to-day maintenance. The $3 million project is anticipated to be complete in summer 2019.

"The work being done on this roadway is part of the Road Transfer Agreement No. 2, which was approved by the Metro Council by council resolution. It was adopted on July 27, 2016, and it requires that certain roadways have to be improved before the city-parish would accept the maintenance responsibility. This project is being paid for with the road transfer agreement credits, also approved by the Metro Council under the same agreement."

Send your questions to Ask The Advocate, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809; or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.