True or False: plastic bags go in the blue bin?

Today’s blog post comes from our Environmental Educator Monica Rosquillas!monica

Here’s a question we get a lot: do plastic bags go in my blue recycle bin?

Unfortunately, the answer is NO. We thought it was important to address this because plastic bags are one of those items that many people misplace into the recycle bin. To learn WHY plastic bags aren’t recycled along with other plastic products, we contacted our friends at EDCO Waste and Recycling. This is what our friend Robert Hill at EDCO had to say, “EDCO doesn’t process bags because this material reaps havoc on our equipment.  The bags clog our screens and we lose the ability to properly process all other items since the screens can’t separate items due to bags wrapping around them”. So basically, plastic bags aren’t taken in at the recycling facility because they clog up the equipment.


Here are some scary stats about how many bags we use, and how detrimental they are to the environment:

-Total number of plastic bags used worldwide annually: 1 trillion

-Number of plastic bags used worldwide per minute: 1 million

-Number of plastic bags the US uses per year: 1 billion

-Number of years it takes a plastic bag to degrade: 1,000 years

Keep these guys out of landfills!
Keep these guys out of landfills!

However, plastic bags can still be recycled! To do this, simply place them in a special plastic bag recycling container. These containers are widely available outside of grocery and retail stores.  Next time you go grocery shopping, remember to bring those plastic bags with you. From there, companies like TREX, recycle those bags into composite decks and deck furniture.

You can recycle your plastic bags at most major grocery stores
You can recycle your plastic bags at most major grocery stores

Of course we think recycling is great.  But even better than recycling is reducing by reusing! Refuse the plastic bag and bring your own reusable bag instead.