Facts about Recycling Plastic Bags

Facts about recycling plastic bags, going green, and finding ways to help the environment are popular concepts today. Sustainability continues to make an impact on our culture as well as our daily lives.  Plastic bags may end up in oceans or tree branches, but they are not all bad. In fact, plastic bag alternatives come with their own set of troubles: their carbon footprint is significantly higher than that of plastic bags. Reusable cotton bags require tons of water and are not recyclable; they must be used over 100 times to be considered eco-friendly. One way many people are doing their part in saving the environment is by recycling plastic bags. Fortunately, store owners, retailers and customers can reuse and/or recycle their own plastic bags. When recycling bags, scrap materials are reused to create a resin that is then made into bags again.

Plastic bags are recyclable, even though they are not recycled through regular curbside pickup or other traditional methods. This is due to plastic bags requiring special processing and sorting machines, even with advanced machinery options being available, and not every recycling plant has them. Therefore, it makes more sense for the plastic bags to be sent to facilities that are specifically set up to recycle them. Another reason the bags cannot be picked up curbside is because they are manufactured from polyethylene, which is the same material found in garment bags, wrap around paper towels and toilet paper, and produce bags. Curbside pickups will mix these materials with multi-layer polyethylene found in bags of potato chips or pet food. When companies purchase plastic film, they do not know what percentage of polyethylene the film contains.

Most plastic bags are constructed from high-density polyethylene but thinner material bags, such as produce bags, made from low-density polyethylene are also recyclable. Recycling collection systems are widely available, mostly through collection bins at local grocery stores. It is more productive to utilize these take-back programs for plastic film than relying on curbside pickups.

Technology is making the plastic bag recycling process easier than ever before. One of the greatest deterrents to recycling are the receipts left at the bottom of the bag. Using a float sink tank allows the polyethylene to float to the top, while the pulp remains at the bottom. The plastic is melted then down and turned into resin pellets that can be used to create new bags. The recycled pellets turn into a darker shade due to all the plastic materials mixed in. These pellets help create awareness for retailers and other business owners that recycled plastic bags can create new plastic bags.

Facts About Recycling Plastic Bags by Using Recycling Bins

To prepare your plastic bags for recycling, simply remove anything from the inside of the bags, such as receipts, stickers, or crumbs. Keeping a designated bag collection bin will also simplify matters. Plastic bags are recyclable in Toronto as long as they do not have organic material in them, as these contaminate the bags, making them not recyclable.

Although plastic bags are convenient to use and reuse, they also help the environment by using 70% less energy to manufacture and 96% less water than the manufacture of paper bags. In disposals, plastic bags take up to 9.3% less space in landfills than other bags.

Large grocery retailers may also be accepting plastic bags for recycling. Some have a large receptacle for disposing of used plastic bags. Once disposed of plastic bags are then transported to designated bag-recycling facilities. There, the plastic bags are melted down and turned into pellets that are used to make something new, such as resin.

Facts About Recycling Plastic Bags by Using Biodegradable Plastic Bags

Biodegradable plastic bags do not degrade quickly, and many find that they pollute water and soil over time. Nevertheless, biodegradable plastic bags are becoming readily available in the market. Biodegradable plastic bags are not cost-effective when considering traditional plastic bag options, as they often have more chemicals in them than regular plastic.

There are many ways to recycle plastic bags. Doing so ensures we do not expend our planet’s natural resources. More importantly, recycled plastic can be turned into resin, which continues the recycling process indefinitely.

Woman Holding Sign With Recycle Symbol - Recycling Plastic Bags is One Way to Help the Environment

Facts About Recycling Plastic Bags and its Advantages

Many businesses seek recycled resin products to help keep manufacturing costs down and to supply the customer with a more cost-effective solution. Recycled plastic bags are more cost-effective than paper, saving our trees in the process.

Paper bags require 2.2 times more energy and 4.7 times more water to manufacture than plastic bags. Paper bags are nine times heavier which means they require more energy for transportation. While plastic bags serve as a marketing tool, they can also be reused, are more efficient in protecting items from moisture, and are recyclable. Recycling a ton of plastic bags or about 450,000 bags saves 11 barrels of oil. These facts about recycling plastic bags are certain to alter some long-held beliefs about plastic bags.

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Plastic Bag History and FAQs

2899 Steeles Ave. W.,
Units 9 & 10,
North York, Ontario
M3J 3A1


Fax: 1-855-669-6184

For skid quantities of stretch wrap, resin, or plastic bags only, please call


By appointment.

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