Ask the Experts: What Can Be Recycled With Plastic Bags Through Store Drop-Off?

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Q: I know that plastic grocery bags can be dropped off at certain stores for recycling. What else can I recycle in those plastic bag drop-off bins?

A: Film plastic recycling — often referred to as plastic bag recycling or store drop-off recycling — was developed to deal with the massive quantity of plastic bags being distributed at stores prior to California’s recent statewide ban. Plastic bags and other film recyclables cannot be recycled curbside because they get tangled up in the machinery at recycling facilities, endangering workers and halting the recycling process. Never put plastic bags or film in your curbside recycling bin.

Luckily, there are store drop-off locations and they can take more than just plastic grocery bags! Here’s what you can recycle in store-drop off bins:

Here are a few common items that can’t be recycled in store drop-off bins:

All items must be clean and dry to be recycled. Dirty and/or wet bags can contaminate the whole bin and keep it from being recycled.

Film plastics are recycled into new bags, packaging, or even into durable home products, such as composite lumber used to make decks and benches.

Ready to recycle your film plastics? Find a location near you.