Did you know that across Ontario, it’s estimated that seven million plastic bags are used each day? That equates to roughly 80 per second. Plastic bags take thousands of years to break down and micro-plastics enter our waterways and are consumed by animals. It’s important we recycle plastic bags to ensure they’re reused versus filling up the landfills and clogging up our eco-systems. Here are 3 important facts everyone should know on recycling plastic bags:

1. Plastic Bags Must be Clean and Dry

In order to recycle plastic bags, they must be clean and dry. Traces of food or grocery receipts will cause contamination during the recycling process. Simply, empty the contents in the trash or compost bin before recycling your plastic bag. If there are remnants left behind, clean with soap and water, turn inside out and leave to dry.

2. Types of Recyclable Plastic Bags

Here’s a list of plastic bags that can be recycled:recycling plastic bags
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Bread bags
  • Produce bags
  • Plastic shipping envelopes (remove labelling)
  • Bubble wrap (popped)
  • Plastic liners from cereal boxes
  • Ziploc bags
  • Dry cleaning bags (remove staples, hangers)
  • Product wrapping (covers a case of water bottles)
These plastic bags need to be thrown in the trash:
  • Six pack rings
  • Candy bar wrappers
  • Chip bags
  • Frozen food bags
This varies based on township, be sure to check out your township’s website on which plastic bags can and cannot be recycled.

3. Bring Plastic Bags to Drop-Off Locations

Plastic bags are typically not accepted as apart of curbside pick-up, therefore you must find a drop-off location near you. Plastic bags are thin and flimsy and will get stuck in sorting machines, and must be separated from rigid plastics. Some stores that act as drop-off locations, include; Sobeys, Real Canadian Superstore and Walmart. Check online to see where drop-off locations are near you. If you live in York Region, follow this link for your nearest store.

What are plastic bags recycled into?recycling plastic bags

When plastic bags are recycled, they can be repurposed into a variety of items. Including; plastic lumber that’s used to make park benches, fences and backyard decks. They can also be remanufactured into: new bags, outdoor patio furniture, office supplies, water pipes and boardwalks. Did you know Toronto’s Western Beaches boardwalk is made from 32 million recycled bags? Other ways you can reuse plastic bags at home:
  • For picking up doggy poop
  • To line kitty litterboxesrecycling plastic bags
  • Use as packing material
  • A bag for items that belong in the green bin
  • To package meat for the freezer
  • Create a travel sewing kit
  • Keep supplies organized
  • Bring on travels to use as a dirty laundry bag
  • Fill bag with distilled vinegar and tie it around your showerhead to remove scum
  • Place iPad/ phone in the bag if you want to read in the bathtub
If you have the choice, choose reusable bags but if you do require plastic bags then ensure they are recycled at a drop-off location or reuse at home. __________________________________________________________________________________________

Looking for more environmental tips? Check out these other blogs: 

recycling program, situational renders CleanRiver Recycling provides a variety of innovative, flexible and customizable recycling solutions. To determine the right solution to meet your needs, use the CleanRiver product selector. If you have additional questions that weren’t answered in this blog post please call us at 1-866-479-4038 or email solutions@cleanriver.com.