How To Recycle Plastic Bags (for intelligent people)

Turtle eating plasticPlastic bags have become the bane of the earth’s existence. They’re filling up in landfills and take hundreds of years to decompose.

When they do break down, microplastics get leached into the soil and water run-offs, slowly making it was into our food sources.

It gets worse:

Plastic bags turn up in sea life daily. Sadly animals mistake the plastic bag for food. Once digested, the animal usually dies from a blocked digestive system.

So, why should we recycle:

Why Is Recycling Plastic Bags Important?

I would have hoped the intro was enough to explain why we need to recycle plastic bags, but if it didn’t, I have a few of other reasons:

  • Saves Energy – Manufacturing anything takes energy, and a plastic bag takes a lot of energy to produce. But, so does recycling; not nearly as much as making a brand new bag though.
  • Reduces Oil Use – Plastic bags are made using crude oil, which we all know is running low — lowering the amount of plastic we use means we don’t have to use oil at all. Apparently, one ton of plastic bags can save over 12 barrels of crude oil.
  • Promotes Sustainability – Promoting sustainable living is more important now than ever. By recycling your plastic bag, you can actively encourage someone else to recycle their bag “lead by example, and people will follow!”

Recycling bags and wraps couldn’t be any more accessible. The average American has access to plastic bag recycling programs. It’s just you might not know about it.

How To Recycle Plastic Bags

Years ago recycling plastic was unheard of, then again people didn’t know the effects it had on the planet.

Luckily that was then; now recycling plastics couldn’t be easier.

It isn’t as easy as sticking it in your curbside recycling, but it`is easy.

You just need to know how and where to recycle your plastic bags, just follow this quick guide.

Here’s a few tips:

  1. Make sure the plastic is clean on the inside, it can’t have anything stuck to it or pieces of left overproduce. Turn the bag inside out and shake to ensure it will be accepted.
  2. Now you need to check that the bag has the right recycling code. You’re looking for #2 or #4 if you can’t see these numbers you can’t recycle them, so you might want to reuse them.
  3. Keep a bag collection bin in your house and fill it with #2 and #4 plastics. Once you’ve collected a full load, you can take them to your local grocery store. Most grocery stores will accept your bags; they have drop off points outside the store.

It really is that easy, just please don’t place bags and wraps in your community recycling bin, it won’t be accepted. And if it does sneak through is blocks up the recycling unit, shutting it down.

What Can I Use Instead Of Plastic Bags?

Reducing is always better than recycling, but by reducing, we need to find an alternative to plastic bags. Luckily you do have a few options, here are a few of my favorites:

Canvas Bags

Canvas makes one of the best reusable grocery bags. They’re usually made with cotton and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The great thing about them is they can be reused multiple times and biodegrade over time. You can even make them at home with old up-cycled materials.

Basket Bags

Getting yourself a basket bag can save you the need for produce bags. Place any produce you have in the basket and make your way to the till. They might not have been seen in a while, but you can still find them; the best things is their biodegradable.

Jute Bags

Jute bags are incredibly beneficial for the environment. The plant itself can filter CO2 out of the air, which helps to keep our greenhouse gases down. And just as cotton does, it biodegrades safely into the environment; you can even compost them!


As you can see, it really isn’t that hard to recycle plastic shopping bags.

But here’s the thing:

Plastic worldRecycling is like putting a bandage on a bullet wound, it holds for a little bit, but the root problem needs fixing. Our best option is to refuse plastic bags.

Reduce your carbon footprint by using reusable shopping bags. It lowers the amount of trash that ends up landfill sites.

And the best bit:

It lowers the demand, which means fewer resources are used to produce them. I call that a win!

If you have any questions about recycling or think I’ve missed something, leave me a comment below. If you liked the article, show it some love by sharing it on Facebook/Twitter.

Are you looking for ways to lower your carbon footprint? Produce bags are causing far more damage then people think, but one of the best reusable produce bags can help solve that!

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