Store Drop-off Program
Residents making their regular shopping trips to their local grocery or other retail store can conveniently bring back their shopping bags, as well as other household film and wraps, to the store drop-off collection bin. Most stores place bins either at the front door or in the Customer Service department. By using their local store drop-off, customers can be sure that the material they bring back is recycled, along with the stretch wrap and other recyclable PE that the store itself generates. All bags and wraps must be clean and dry, and not include any other types of plastic such as containers.
Closed Loop Programs
A number of institutions such as universities, as well as some retailers, participate in “closed loop” bag and film recycling programs. The material is collected from all points of use, including stockrooms and warehouses, in the institutional environment. For retailers, material is collected from their own operations as well as their customers. The HDPE and LDPE bags and film are then shipped to a recycler who converts that material into trash bags or other products which are then sold back to the participating entity. It’s a great way to directly connect recycling to the products used every day and to educate and motivate consumers and employees to recycle.
“Bag-in-Bag” Curbside Program
Most US curbside recycling programs do not include plastic bags or film, but some communities use MRFs that have invested in special equipment to manage this material. They are able to offer “bag in bag” recycling programs, allowing residents to stuff their bags and films into one bag and place that in their curbside bins. The MRF’s special equipment separates those bundles from the other recyclables before they get mixed up and contaminated. Residents should not assume that their community accepts bags in curbside carts and should always check first.