Did you know? You can recycle more than plastic bags

You may know that plastic bags are recyclable, but did you know that plastic film is, too?  What else can go into that recycling bin at your grocery store?

Plastic film, such as produce bags, dry cleaning bags, the wrap around paper towels and diapers, and more, can be recycled along with plastic bags. Check out the lists below for accepted items.  Please ensure your plastic is clean and dry before dropping it into the bins. Dirty, wet, and items containing food residue will contaminate the entire batch.  

In addition to plastic grocery bags, you can recycle:  

  • dry cleaning bags
  • poly shipping mailers, (these are often light gray in color; labels cut out)
  • Plastic shipping envelopes, bubble mailers (labels cut out)
  • air pillows, (popped)
  • bubble wrap
  • non-compostable produce bags (compostable produce bags cannot be recycled; they can be dropped off at a commercial composter) 
  • food packaging bags (zip-top bags) 
  • plastic newspaper wrapping 
  • product wrapping (bags around new products) 
  • bread bags 
  • plastic wrap on cases of water/soda bottles, paper towels, napkins, disposable cups, bathroom tissue, diapers, and female sanitary products 
  • furniture and electronic wraps 
  • plastic cereal box liners (if it does NOT tear like paper) 

Where can I drop off plastic bags?  

King Soopers, Safeway, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, and many other retailers now accept plastic bags, wraps, and other film packaging for recycling. Here’s a link to finding a location near you: https://bagandfilmrecycling.org/ 

Other plastics are more difficult to reccycle and can not go into the grocery store recycling bins  AND there is an alternative to the landfill….TerraCycle ZeroWaste BoxesWe currently collect certain hard to recycle plastics at the EverGREEN Refill Station.  These include Dental Hygiene (toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, floss containers), shaving; disposable razors, blades and packaging, and we also collect pens and markers.  These all go to Aspire Colorado in Golden who recycles them in using TerraCycle boxes.

Checkout all the TerraCycle Zero Waste Boxes you can get to dispose of hard to recycle times like the Candy Wrapper ZeroWaste Box.

The following items may need to go into the landfill.

  • mailers that have two materials (paper mailers with attached bubble wrap) 
  • frozen food bags 
  • cereal box liners that tear like paper 
  • pre-washed salad bags 
  • cling/plastic food wrap 
  • six-pack rings (cut up so animals don’t get caught)

Why can’t I put bags in my curbside bin?  

Ever wonder why plastic bags aren’t collected with your other curbside recycling? The plastic bags and films get clogged in the large commercial machines that sort and separate the recyclables. When this happens, the machines have to be turned off, manually cleaned out, and then re-started. This process takes considerable time and energy and puts workers at risk for injury. The extra labor required to clear out the jammed machines and more frequent downtime makes your recycling program less profitable.  

Why can’t I bag my loose recyclables?  

And, for the same reasons above, don’t bag your curbside recyclables either. Instead, rinse out recyclables before dropping them in the bin and your collection bin will stay clean for a long time. Rinse out your bin once a year with the garden hose to keep it clean.  

What products are made from recycled plastic?  

With so much plastic available for recycling, manufacturers are meeting the demands of the public and engineering new products from recycled plastic. These new products include backyard decking, outdoor furniture, fences, playground equipment, rugs and mats, pipes, pallets, crates, clothing, shoes, blankets, and even new plastic bags.  

Have an item not listed? Email ESA and we’ll try to find out if it’s recyclable!  info@sustainevergreen.org Enter your zip code into Plastic Film’s Directory to find a recycle retailer near you. https://bagandfilmrecycling.org/ Also, for a complete list of materials that can be recycled locally, check out ESA’s Directory of Recycling Locations: https://sustainevergreen.org/our-work/directory-recycling-locations/