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Plastic Film

While you might think this post is about the ubiquitous plastic bag, it is actually about some of its relatives. Much like today’s DNA tests allow you to find out about the ancestry of your grandparents, I learned a few years back that plastic bag recycling can include some “kissing cousins”—closely related materials.

This site for plastic film recycling has all of the details, including:

In addition to the competition possibilities listed on the plastic film site, a blog reader recently let me know that another company sponsors competitions, and will make and donate a composite bench out of these materials:

While you can see the complete list of what is recyclable above, here are some of the everyday items that I never knew could be included:

  • All types of plastic bags: grocery bags, newspaper bags, plastic that covers dry-cleaning, bags that hold bread, produce bags (clean and dry)    

  • Zip-top food storage bags (clean and dry)

  • Plastic shipping envelopes (remove labels), bubble wrap and air pillows (deflate)

  • Product wrap on cases of water/soda bottles, paper towels, napkins, disposable cups, bathroom tissue, diapers, and female sanitary products

  • Plastic cereal box liners (but if it tears like paper, do not include)

I find that collecting this kind of plastic film adds up quickly. We eat our fair share of cereal, and most packages come with some sort of bubble wrap or air pillows. However, I don’t bring this type of recycling to the grocery store every week. I let it accumulate for a month or two and then bring in several bags of it at once.

Of course, reducing consumption of plastic film by being more mindful while shopping is optimal. But in the cases where plastic bags or film can’t be avoided, taking advantage of recycling these items is an easy and convenient way to redefine trash.


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