Plastic bags are a common sight in our everyday lives. They are used for everything from carrying groceries to collecting trash. In the United States alone, it is estimated that over 380 billion plastic bags were consumed in 2014 alone.
These bags can take up to 1000 years to decompose and they don’t biodegrade in a landfill due to their ability to trap moisture which prevents bacteria growth that is necessary for decay.
The best way you can help reduce your use of these non-biodegradable items is by recycling them!
In this blog post, we will go through what you need to do in order recycle your plastic bags and how doing so helps protect our environment from harmful waste buildup!
Why Recycle Plastic Bags?
Plastic bags are one of the most commonly recycled items because they’re easy to recycle and can be reused multiple times. Recycling plastic bags helps reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills and it also keeps these bags from polluting our environment.
Besides these, there are more benefits of recycling plastic bags:
1. Saves Energy
Recycling plastic bags conserves energy and reduces pollution. It also helps to create new products using less energy.
When you recycle a plastic bag, it takes about 72% percent less energy than creating a new one from scratch. So, recycling plastic bags is not only great for the environment, but it’s good for your wallet too!
2. Reduces Oil Consumption
It takes about 12 million barrels of oil to make the 100 billion plastic bags Americans use each year.
Recycling just one pound of plastics can save up to 24 gallons of oil. So, by recycling your old plastic bags, you’re helping to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
3. Encourages Sustainable Use of Resources
Producing plastic bags from recycled materials instead of virgin materials uses less energy and results in fewer emissions. It also reduces the need for new resources, which is important since we’re running out of them!
4. Reduces Waste
Americans use about 100 billion plastic bags each year, most of which are not recycled. This creates a lot of waste that takes up space in landfills and can pollute our environment.
When you recycle your plastic bags, it keeps them out of the landfill and helps to reduce the amount of waste we create as a nation.
In short, recycling plastic bags is good for the environment, our economy, and our future.
Types of Plastic Bags
There are many different types of plastic bags. Some examples include:
- High-Density Polyethylene: Milk jugs, detergent bottles, and shopping bags
- Low-Density Polyethylene: Trash can liners, bread bags, and frozen food bags
- Polypropylene: Bottle caps, yogurt containers, and medicine bottles
- Polystyrene: Fried chicken boxes and packing peanuts
There are two main types of recycling: single-stream and dual-stream. Single stream recycling means all the recyclable materials go into one bin.
Dual-stream recycling means there are two bins, one for paper and one for plastic, metal, and glass.
Which Method is Best?
The best way to recycle plastic bags depends on your municipality. Some places have single-stream recycling, while others have dual-stream recycling. If you’re not sure which method your municipality uses, check with your local government or waste management company.
Different Methods of Recycling Plastic Bags
There are several different methods for recycling plastic bags. The best method will depend on the type of bag and what materials it is made out of. A general rule to follow, however, is that two types of plastics cannot be recycled together.
It’s also not recommended that you use paper or cardboard as a way to recycle plastic bags. Doing this can cause the bags to break down and not be recycled properly.
Method 1: Drop them off at Grocery Stores
The first method is recycling plastic shopping bags at a grocery store or other retailer that accepts them as their own type of recyclable bag. Many stores will already have designated bins for these types of plastics, but make sure you check with your local shop about its recycling policy.
Method 2: Cut the Plastics into Small Pieces
The second method is to cut the plastic bags into smaller pieces so they are thin enough for recycling, which can be done by hand or with a machine.
Method 3: Reuse the Bags
A third option is cutting up the bag and using it as part of another item that needs recycled materials. This could be used in projects like making clothing out of old plastics or other upcycled projects.
Method 4: Use Collection Bins
The last way to recycle plastic bags is by using a bag collection bin or program. There are many local and national organizations that have these types of programs set up.
Therefore, it’s best to do a quick Google search for “recycling plastic bags in [your city/state]” to see what is offered in your area. Some of these organizations even accept plastic grocery bags.
So, be sure to check with the organization before you add them to their collection bins or bring them over for recycling.
What Kinds of Plastic Bags Can be Recycled?
There are many types of plastic bags that can be recycled. This includes grocery store bags, bread bags, produce bags, and even zip-top baggies. It is important to check the recycling symbols on the bottom of each bag to see if it is recyclable in your area.
To explain better, here is a list of different types of plastic bags that can be recycled:
- Plastic Bags and wraps: grocery store bags, bread bags, produce bags, zip-top baggies
- HDPE and LDPE plastic bags
- Cereal wrappers
- Bubble wrap
- Plastic packaging on toys, electronics, and other items
- Water bottle wraps (such as the plastic around a water-bottle label)
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to recycle plastic bags, and it’s important to find the method that works best for you. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when recycling plastic bags:
- Make sure the bag is clean and free of any dirt or food particles. This will help prevent bacteria from growing in the bag
- Recycling plastic bags is not the same as recycling paper or cardboard, so don’t throw them in with your regular recyclables.
By following the steps above, you should be able to recycle your plastic bags effectively.