With all the brouhaha over plastic bag bans in various American cities, I thought it would appropriate to make this post about where you can recycle your plastic bags. If you’re in the U.S., check out plasticbagrecycling.org, the online resource for plastic bad and film recycling, to find a drop-off location nearest you. Many grocery stores have collections right outside the door, so you can bring your bags back if you’ve got too many at home. Many municipalities also offer plastic bag recycling (especially the “single-stream”/blue bin recycling services) along with regular garbage collection.

Did you know? Lots of different kinds of plastic can be recycled!

Yep, according to plasticbagrecycling.org, the following types of plastic bags are typically recycled:

  • newspaper bags
  • dry cleaning bags
  • bread bags
  • produce bags
  • toilet paper, napkin, and paper towel wraps
  • furniture wrap
  • electronic wrap
  • plastic retail bags (hard plastic and string handles removed)
  • grocery bag
  • Plastic food storage bags (clean and dry) (e.g. Ziploc® Bags)
  • plastic cereal box liners
  • Tyvek (no glue, labels, other material)
  • diaper wrap (packaging)
  • plastic shipping envelopes (remove labels)
  • case wrap (e.g., snacks, water bottles)
  • All clean, dry bags labeled #2 or #4

Of course, what can be recycled varies by recycling facility, so be sure to contact the one(s) in your area before you toss your cereal box liner in the mix. I’ll try to find plastic bag recycling resources for other parts of the world. In the meantime, here are some great ways to reuse those bags (remember it’s Reduce, Reuse, and then Recycle):

  • groceries (seriously, you can use them more than once, it won’t hurt)
  • shower cap
  • padding for shipping/moving
  • makeshift umbrella
  • rubbish bin liner (why buy brand new bags to hold your waste?)
  • surface cover to keep a workspace clean and/or dry
  • donate them to food pantries, used book stores, libraries, thrift shops, or other organizations
  • use them to hold your other plastic bags 😉
  • carry shoes when travelling (so the dirty heels don’t rub all over your packed clothes)
  • cover leftovers in the fridge
  • gloves when using dyes/henna or irritating substances
Have other great ideas for reusing plastic bags? Share them in the comments!