Recycling Plastic Bags | My Plastic-free Life

Join the discussion. Post questions or offer useful information. Keep the content related to plastic in some way.  

Subscribe: If you would like to receive a daily email notification as new messages are posted, click here to subscribe.  (Note:  New messages are also included in the "My Plastic-Free Life Weekly Digest", so do consider how many emails you would like to receive.)

To add a new topic:  Decide which category it will be (plastic-free alternatives, plastic news, rants, etc.) and click on that category.  Then, you will see the "Add Topic" button at the top right of the section for that category.

Why Register? You may post as a guest without registering, but your post will be held in the moderation queue until I approve it, and depending on my schedule, that could take a while. If you register, your posts will go through immediately. If you have trouble registering or adding topics, please contact me for help.

Please consider registering
guest

Log In Register Members

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

    

Wildcard usage:
*  matches any number of characters    %  matches exactly one character

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS Related Topics
Recycling Plastic Bags
Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
December 26, 2009
2:29 pm
Member
Forum Posts: 28
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

Plastic bags are everywhere. Although often quoted as consuming oil resources, most plastic bags are actually made from natural gas. The bad news is most plastic bags are not recycled. Part of the reason is because many local recycling agencies do not accept plastic bags. They are lightweight, fly out of the backs of recycling trucks, and become litter. They also jam up the recycling machines and cause expensive repairs. The good news is that most plastic bags are recyclable. Stores such as Ukrops, Walmart, Food Lion, Kroger and Whole Foods all accept plastic bags for recycling. Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency stated in 2000 that only 1% of plastic bags were recycled, significant attention resulted in a 700% growth in the recycling industry as new capacity led to a 7% rate.

When most people think of plastic bags, the first thing they think of are plastic grocery bags. But did you know that many other types of plastic bags can be recycled along with your plastic grocery bags as well? All of the following can be recycled right along with your plastic grocery bags.

• 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

• zip lock bags (remove hard components)

• plastic cereal box liners (if it tears like paper do not include)

• Tyvek(no glue, labels, other material)

• diaper wrap (packaging)

• plastic shipping envelopes (no bubble wrap/remove labels)

• case wrap (e.g., snacks, water bottles)

• All clean, dry bags labeled #2 or #4.

There are some types of plastic bags that should NOT be included. The following are considered contaminants and could jeopardize recycling programs:

NO food or cling wrap

NO prepackaged food bags including frozen food bags (e.g., prewashed salad bags)

NO film that has been painted or has excessive glue

NO other bags or films

NO bio-based or compostable plastic bags

So when going to the grocery store, it's preferred that you use reusable grocery bags. But a certain amount of plastic is unavoidable. So let's make sure to recycle all we can.

December 26, 2009
11:24 pm
Member
Forum Posts: 38
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

Thanks for posting the info, AB. I have been tossing my newspaper bags for years but now collect them along with the occasional grocery bag and take the lot back to the grocery store.

December 28, 2009
3:52 pm
Member
Forum Posts: 23
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

Thank you! I didn't realize WF allowed bags, I was feeling guilty for not being able to give up the bread habit (try finding gluten free bread wrapped in paper for less than 10$/loaf – not in PA, and my baking attempts won't even compost properly). I will still feel guilty, but slightly less as I wean myself off of a food I both love and don't need. :D

December 30, 2009
4:19 am
Admin
Forum Posts: 352
Member Since:
February 16, 2010
Offline

I do wonder what happens to all of these bags. I know some of them are shipped to companies like Trex for recycling into plastic lumber. But does Trex actually use all of them? I once spoke to a woman who had interviewed someone from that company who told her that Trex prefers clean, pre-consumer content and that many plastic bags from consumers get wasted. Of course, this is completely hearsay. I can't verify it, which is why I've never blogged on it. But it would be interesting to follow the plastic bags that are dropped off at grocery stores to find out what actually happens to them.

December 30, 2009
12:01 pm
Member
Forum Posts: 28
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

I'm sure a bunch of them are shipped off to China and are incinerated. But like I mentioned, eliminate the plastic grocery bags by using reusable bags and recycle the plastic bags that we will inevitably still come across.

January 2, 2010
2:22 am
Member
Forum Posts: 38
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

Here's a new twist on plastic bagging…

When I went to my usual grocery store where plastic bags are all that's on offer (I always take my backpack), I was surprised at check-out when they gave me a free durable plastic bag with handles and a solid bottom that allows the thing to stand open even if empty.

Bags of this kind have been for sale for 99 cents for some time – now they are pushing them for free. Little by little public pressure has an effect.

January 6, 2010
9:52 am
Admin
Forum Posts: 352
Member Since:
February 16, 2010
Offline

And here's yet another twist on plastic bags… those cheapo reusable bags that are made out of plastic? Big unwashable germ factories.

Now, I'm not usually a germophobe. But I did take notice of this study that came out this past year:

http://network.nationalpost.co…..-risk.aspx

The point is that we need to be washing our reusable bags frequently to prevent build up of the types of germs that cause food poisoning. And as far as I know, those plastic reusable bags cannot be washed… can they?

January 6, 2010
1:09 pm
Member
Forum Posts: 28
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

They can be handwashed and air dryed. If you're smart about how you use them (i.e. – don't put a leaky meat package in them) then it shouldn't be much of a problem.

August 24, 2011
10:55 am
Kail
Guest

I have several reusable grocery bags that were made from former plastic bags that are no longer usable (i.e. they have irreparable rips, holes from excessive wear, etc.)  Does anyone know if they can be recycled with the non-reusable plastic bags that the grocery store collects?  I asked at Whole Foods, where I purchased them, and no one seemed to know. 

August 24, 2011
11:33 am
Admin
Forum Posts: 352
Member Since:
February 16, 2010
Offline

I'm guessing they probably cannot be as they are not the same material.  ChicoBags takes back all kinds of worn out reusable bags:

 

http://www.chicobag.com/t-repu…..ram.aspx 

 

You can send them any reusable bags.

August 24, 2011
4:09 pm
Portland, OR
New Member
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
August 24, 2011
Offline

Thanks!

August 24, 2011
5:28 pm
Member
Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

Beth Terry said:

And here's yet another twist on plastic bags… those cheapo reusable bags that are made out of plastic? Big unwashable germ factories.

Now, I'm not usually a germophobe. But I did take notice of this study that came out this past year:

http://network.nationalpost.co…..-risk.aspx

The point is that we need to be washing our reusable bags frequently to prevent build up of the types of germs that cause food poisoning. And as far as I know, those plastic reusable bags cannot be washed… can they?

They are not washable!! Buy good cotton bags that can be wash. The EPA claims that they have lead levels that are exceptable in landfills.Frown

August 24, 2011
5:34 pm
Member
Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
August 22, 2011
Offline

Beth Terry said:

And here's yet another twist on plastic bags… those cheapo reusable bags that are made out of plastic? Big unwashable germ factories.

Now, I'm not usually a germophobe. But I did take notice of this study that came out this past year:

http://network.nationalpost.co…..-risk.aspx

The point is that we need to be washing our reusable bags frequently to prevent build up of the types of germs that cause food poisoning. And as far as I know, those plastic reusable bags cannot be washed… can they?

On a regular bases, checkers ask me, am I sure that they should put that in my cloth bag?? I say yes, I wash them!!!!

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 320

Currently Online:
43 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
Today None
Upcoming None

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 160

Members: 192

Moderators: 0

Admins: 1

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 9

Topics: 307

Posts: 1383

Administrators: Beth Terry (352)