How to Recycle Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags Pile

If you’re like nearly every single person on the planet, you probably have one of these lying around your house. A plastic bag filled with other plastic bags (these are technically called plastic film bags).

Admittedly, I feel terrible that I have been one of these balled-up-shopping-bag-collectors for most of my life. I’ve reused them as bathroom trash can liners (I think most people do) and to collect my recycling (DON’T DO THIS), but that’s really the lazy woman’s way out, and I realized I’m not helping the environment this way.

Here’s how to recycle these bad boys:

  • Empty everything out of the bags, receipts, etc.
  • Start a ball of these plastic bags (with nothing in them)
  • Take them with you to your grocery store
  • Leave them there in the receptacle and never look back

Unsure as to which grocery stores or recycling drop-off centers accept these? Search for yours by zip code.

Quick update, I visited my bin today. Here’s what it looks like in my local grocery store. Hopefully, yours does not look as gross as mine. As you can see, you can also recycle dry cleaner bags and newspaper sleeves here.

How to Recycle Plastic Bags - Recycle Receptacle Example

Finally, you might be appalled that someone who runs a recycling website has plastic bags lying around her house. But, nobody is perfect! I am just learning how to be a more eco-friendly citizen. I don’t drive a car and sometimes I need to get groceries and I don’t have a bag on me. It happens. We just all need to get in the habit of disposing of these bags in the right way. Why? We need to get a handle on this landfill issue.

How to Recycle Plastic Bags

Author: MJ

Hi, I'm MJ, a recovering aspirational recycler who started HowToRecycle to share her journey with others. I kindly invite you to share your knowledge with me, talk about issues that are bothering you, tell me where I’m wrong (you know you want to), and help me discover new things!

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