Do not accept plastic bags if you’re in a state that hasn’t banned them. Instead, put your items back in your cart, carry a reusable bag, or yikes… ask for paper.
Do not reuse your plastic grocery or newspaper bags for dog poop or in other ways that land them in the trash… please.
Recycle your plastic bags (and soft plastic). Do not throw out.
Beyond bags, there are lots of soft plastic wraps that are recyclable.
Be picky, if there are alternatives try to buy things that don't have plastic wraps.
Grocery stores and major retailers will take your clean, soft plastic in their on-premise recycling bins.
Most residential curbside recycling will NOT take them. Check your grocery stores, and big box stores like Target and Walmart.
The bottom line is that you can recycle more than you think you can.
The info we're about to share with you is from Monroe County in NY State. We’d love to know if your area is ahead of this curve or lagging. Let us know.
Plastic bags and product wrap are NOT accepted for curbside recycling!
Most of us get this, and this is true across towns and cities because the bags clog the machines, and most important they can be recycled and are recycled.
Plastic bags and product wrap can be returned to many grocery stores like Wegmans, and major retail stores (Walmart, Target, Wegmans, Tops, etc.) for recycling. Many other types of plastic bags/wrap can be included as well. They are also accepted recycling centers across the US.
To determine if a plastic bag/wrap is recyclable, try the rule of thumb: If you can put your thumb through the plastic and it stretches, it is likely the correct type of plastic film for recycling (polyethylene often marked #2 or #4).
Cereal/Cracker Box Liners
Dry Cleaning Bags
Bread Bags (labels OK)
Produce Bags NO Prewashed Salad Mix Bags
Zip-Type Bags NO slide mechanism
Deflated Air Pillows
Plastic Shipping Envelopes (labels OK)
Due to their multi-layer, multi-material composition, these materials are not accepted for curbside recycling or plastic film recycling at retailers.
If a plastic bag/wrap is shiny, crinkly, or tears like paper it is likely not the correct type of plastic film for recycling (any film marked with a #5 or #7 should be disposed of).
If it fails the rule of thumb and you cannot put your thumb through the plastic and make it stretch, it is not acceptable for plastic film recycling
Frozen Food Bags
Plastic with Strings, Rigid Handles, or Closing Mechanisms
Mylar (Potato Chip) bags
Candy/Granola Bar Wrappers
Pet Food Bags
So, there are some hard facts about soft plastic. It's tough to avoid, the pain is real. But you don't have to toss it in the trash.