Plastic Film Recycling—It’s in the bag!

Did you know that plastic bags are typically made from the same plastic as recyclable milk jugs, water bottles and shampoo and detergent bottles but in “film” form?

The trouble is these lightweight films jam the equipment used to recycle other high density (#2) and low density (#4) polyethelene plastics so they must be collected and processes separately.

Fortunately, they are a high demand recyclable so collection points are easy to find at local grocery stores and other retail locations—and you can drop off more than just grocery bags.  The recycle symbol is not usually printed on these bags so here’s a list of plastic bag films you can drop off in the grocery bag recycling boxes.

Do drop off:

dry cleaning bags
cereal box liners (completely clean & dry)
shopping bags (remove receipts and handles)
bread bags (completely clean & dry)
newspaper bags
zip lock type bags (completely clean & dry)
produce bags
product wrapping (such as covers a case of water bottles)
bubble wrap and air pillows
plastic shipping envelopes (remove labels)

Do NOT drop off:

NO cling wrap
Unfortunately, cling wrap can’t be recycled along with other plastic films because the chemicals and resins added to make the cling wrap “clingy” and stretchable cannot be removed, making it too complex a plastic to recycle.

NO frozen food bags
NO pre-washed salad bags
These bags have an extra polymer layer which protects the contents of the bag but makes them non-recyclable.

No wet or dirty bags
Really, these bags can contaminate the whole batch.

Want more info?  Here’s a great site: