Do plastic bags get recycled easily? Let’s find out in this article.
Millions and billions of plastic bags add up in landfills and natural ecosystems. As they slowly degrade, they break down into smaller microplastics easily consumed by wildlife and seabirds.
When these creatures consume such substances, it results in malnutrition, intestinal blockages, or gradual poisoning.
More so, waste plastic bags causes environmental pollution.
This, in turn, harms humans and plants as well.
Now, what do we do with our plastic grocery and retail bags to reduce waste? Recycle or repurpose them?
We will provide all the answers to these questions if you keep reading this article. Shall we?
Are Plastic Bags Recyclable?
Reprocessing industries can recycle plastic bags made from soft, flexible polyethylene.
They fall under the #2 and #4 RICs.
However, the possibility of recycling plastic bags depends on a few factors—location, the type of plastic bag, and where you intend to recycle.
Before you recycle or send plastic bags for reprocessing, you’ll need to perform specific tasks. You are to clean plastic bags thoroughly before anything else.
Plastic bags are often riddled with food waste or other grime. Such contamination significantly interferes with reprocessing machinery.
The end products of contaminated plastic bags are always of lower quality than those recreated from cleaner materials.
Recyclable and Non-Recyclable Plastic Bags
You must know that not all plastic bags are recyclable. As mentioned earlier, #2 and #4 plastic bags are recyclable.
This includes grocery store bags, Ziploc-type baggies, produce bags, bread bags, air pillows, and bubble wrap. Others are plastic cereal box liners, paper mailers, newspaper bags, and many more.
Non-recyclable plastic bags are coated with aluminum.
You’ll see them shining on the inside. In other cases, some plastic bags have multiple layers, such as polyethylene, ethylene vinyl alcohol, etc.
Most reprocessing facilities find it difficult to separate such layers.
Some non-recyclable plastic bags include chip bags, candy wrappers, and pre-washed salad mix bags. Others have frozen food bags, compostable bags, and other thin film packages.
How Can I Ship My Plastic Bags for Reprocessing?
There are several options if you’re wondering how to ship your plastic bag for recycling.
First of all, check your local curbside pickup. However, it would help if you kept in mind that not all municipal curbside pickup accepts plastic bags for recycling.
You’ll need to determine whether your local curbside agrees with this material.
You can also store drop-off. The majority of national grocery retailers accept recyclable plastic bags for recycling. This is because they partner with several plastic recyclers.
Alternatively, you can participate in grocery chain recycling programs.
Thirdly, you can mail it in. This is a fantastic alternative for those who aren’t living near a retailer with a plastic recycling program. In this case, you can consider mailing other businesses with recycling programs.
One such business you can count on is TerraCycle.
They provide recycling services for plastic grocery and shopping bags.
Can I Recycle Plastic Bags in Curbside Bin?
The answer is no! you can’t recycle your plastic bags in your curbside bin.
This is because the material is lightweight and can get caught in standard reprocessing machinery. Its only specialized reprocessing machines best handle plastic bags.
Products Made From Recycled Plastic Bags
The primary aim of melting down plastic bags is to create new plastic bags or other products. A few of these products are desks, tables, fences, and benches.
The recycling facility can also reform them into pallets. Some manufacturing companies turn into lumber.
Repurposing Plastic Bags
This is one of the best ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic bags sustainably. When you repurpose plastic bags, you significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Additionally, reusing your plastic bags is eco-friendly, and you’ll save the energy consumed during recycling. Right below are some efficient ways you can repurpose your plastic bags.
Turn Plastic Bags into Yarn and Crotchet
Can you turn your plastic bags into flower pots?
It would be best if you turned your plastic bags into yarns and crotchets of different sizes. This is to accommodate both you’re big and small flowers.
They’re Good Packaging Materials
Plastic bags are fantastic packages of various kinds of articles.
You can store fragile items such as glass bowls. You can also use it to bag your stuff while on holiday. This includes liquids such as perfumes, shampoos, etc.
Some people package their dirty shoes or clothing in plastic bags.
Alternative Trash for Your Car
If your car doesn’t have a standard trash can, you can use plastic bags as an alternative.
Stick them around your door compartment so your passengers can put their waste materials in there. Once it gets full, you empty them. It’s a cheaper way to manage cleanliness in your car.
Meanwhile, when placing a plastic bag in your car, ensure it doesn’t have holes to prevent leakages in the event of liquids. To avoid such occurrences, you can double the plastic bag.
Make a Sizable Basket
This is another eco-friendly way of repurposing plastic bags and keeping them away from landfills.
Gather your waste plastic bags and make such a basket. The procedure is much more similar to making a flower pot, as highlighted above.
Use It To Collect Your Pet Waste
You don’t have to keep buying pre-packed waste bags for your pets at home. Use your old grocery plastic bags and collect their waste. This alternative will not only save cost but will get your job done.
It’s a Good Cleaning Tool for Showerhead
You can use your waste plastic to clean difficult areas such as showerheads.
All you need to do is pour a little vinegar and dish soap into a plastic bag and wrap them around your shower nozzle. You can use a rubber band to strengthen the bond.
Now, allow the shower head to soak to clear significant buildup.
There’re a lot more ideas for repurposing plastic bags. You can discard grease, cooking oil, gifting and stuffing, holiday decorations, and many more.
Now we’ve come to the end of our discussion. We hope you’re better informed on the possibility of recycling plastic bags. You can also see some ways you can reuse your old plastic bags.
However, before you take further steps in recycling, gather more knowledge on plastic bag recycling.