Recycling Tip for Better Results: Plastic Bags and Plastic Film
Plastic bags and plastic film have unfortunately become synonymous with our societies reliance on items of convenience and single-serve packaging. It’s sometimes hard to say “no plastic bag, please” and even more difficult to avoid plastic film that comes with some of the items we purchase.
If you do end up with plastic bags or plastic film lying around, know that there are local disposal options – although one is not the curbside recycling bin. These items might have recycling symbols on them, but they can’t be recycled properly in the curbside collection systems.
Why can’t I put plastic bags and plastic film into the recycling bin?
- Plastic bags and plastic film are not recyclable curbside due in part to their structure. Both items tangle up in the gears of recycling trucks and the sorting equipment at the MRF. If plastic bags get through a MRF’s sorting process, they can clog up the facility and shut it down for hours just to un-tangle the bags that got stuck; this is a waste of time and money. Put your recyclable items loose into the cart and do not bag them in plastic bags or plastic trash bags.
If I can’t put it into the recycling bin, where can it go?
- Say “no” to using plastic bags altogether and use reusable bags or paper bags (or no bags!) instead when you purchase items. If you have unavoidable plastic film from items or extra plastic bags, you can recycle them properly at our Drop-Off Station (DOS) located at 2950 E. Ellsworth Road or our Recovery Yard at 7891 Jackson Road. Plastic bags are recycled and baled separately from other materials at our sites which allow it to be recycled and not contaminate other recyclables brought on-site. Many grocery stores also have boxes at the front of their stores to collect plastic bags for recycling.
- Our NEW Pilot Program to Assist with Plastic Bag and Plastic Film Recycling: On July 3, environmentalists and concerned individuals took part in “International Plastic Bag Free Day”. Recycle Ann Arbor also took part in this movement by launching our “Plastic Pollution Solution” program. This program is aimed at offering additional, and convenient, community locations for individuals to recycle plastic bags and plastic film at. The idea is that drop-off locations will be in places you may already frequent such as churches, schools, farmer’s markets, local restaurants, and other community-centric establishments. Our pilot community drop-off bin location was launched at Zingerman's Delicatessen location. More locations and program information to come soon!
Stay tuned for August’s “Recycling Tip for Better Results” -- Styrofoam and other packaging materials