The Ins & Outs of Recycling Plastic Bags

I’ve been working with a significant number of clients with hoarding tendencies lately.  One of the items that I find the most of in these homes is plastic bags.  The above photo represents only a portion of the literally hundreds upon hundreds of bags that I’ve collected from these client engagements in the past couple of months.  Because I assist my clients with recycling of items such as this, I thought it might be a good time to share plastic bag recycling info here.  Per the following types of plastic bags are typically recyclable:

  • 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.

They also request that the following items (considered contaminants) should NOT be recycled as they could jeopardize recycling programs.

  • Food or cling wrap
  • Prepackaged food bags including frozen food bags (e.g., prewashed salad bags)
  • Film that has been painted or has excessive glue
  • Other bags or films
  • Bio-based or compostable plastic bags

As for where to recycle your plastic bags, it appears your best bet is local grocery stores and discount retailers.  Click here to access the site’s recycling drop off locater system. 


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