Most plastic bags are made with materials that are recyclable, unfortunately this doesn’t mean they can go into your curbside bin. This includes grocery store plastic bags, zip lock bags, newspaper cover slips, bread loaf bags, and anything similar. Why? Because due to their size and shape, they end up clogging machines at recycling facilities. It just takes one bag to get caught and bring the entire operation to a halt, requiring an employee to remove the bag by hand; a time consuming, and possibly dangerous task.
So what do you do with them?
Most retail and grocery stores offer free plastic bag drop-off bins for guests to use. Just take them there on your next trip! All you need to do is make sure it’s clean and remove any rigid parts including zippers, firm handles, and/or string ties. And of course, always try to reduce first by only taking plastic bags if you really need them.
Stores that offer plastic bag recycling at all locations
Cub Foods, Target, Whole foods, Walmart (super-centers), Rainbow Foods
*Some locations of Lunds & Byerlys, JCPenny’s, and Lowe’s also offer plastic bag recycling
*Some locations have temporarily stopped offering plastic bag drop-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to check with the specific location prior to your drop-off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I put my recyclables in a plastic bag to prevent machines from clogging-can it be recycled then?
Unfortunately no, the first step at many of these facilities is to sort the recyclables from any waste that might have found its way into the stream. If a recycling facility member sees a tied plastic bag, they most likely will assume its trash and throw it away.
What kind of plastic bags can’t go in curbside-is it just plastic grocery bags?
NO plastic bags (zip lock, grocery, film, newspaper slips, etc.) should go in curbside recycling. Take them to a retail location instead.
Do all recycling/trash companies have the same rules?
No, they do not. Some will accept things that others will not however, there are currently no haulers that accept plastic bags through curbside collection. Check out our curbside guide to see what your hauler collects!