The Plastic Bag—the somewhat useful, somewhat inadequate, product that fills your closet and trunk faster than you can blink. The US EPA estimates that worldwide people use between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags each year. So what should you do with the incessant things? If you throw them in the trash, they might make it to the landfill where they'll lay with mounds of waste underground for centuries to come. Or more likely, the light plastic will fly out somewhere along the process of dumpster-truck-landfill and ends up polluting our waterways and endangering a variety of animals.
You may be asking, "Can't I recycle them?"
Yes! But NOT IN THE CURBSIDE RECYCLING.
Clark County recycling facilities. Workers have to shut the line down and get
inside the machine to physically remove the tangled debris by hand. Now, these
torn shreds are destined for the landfill.
But there is still a way to responsibly dispose of the persistent bags: TAKE THEM TO THE STORES! Many grocery stores collect plastic bags and sell them to companies, such as www.trex.com/recycling that recycles film plastics into plastic lumber. We recommend taking your plastic bags to Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyers or other locations affiliated with the nationwide WRAP campaign. The WRAP campaign is a coalition of local stores and domestic plastic companies that's going "Beyond Bags" by collecting all clean and dry plastic films—such as bubble wraps and air pillows, package shrink wraps, newspaper/bread/produce bags, zip-lock bags, and, yes—all of those plastic grocery bags. However the following are NOT recyclable: degradable/compostable bags or film packaging, pre-washed salad mix bags, frozen food bags, candy bar wrappers, chip bags or six-pack rings. These items should go in the trash or to specialized recycling programs.
Follow the "Rule of Thumb"—if you can stretch a hole through the plastic with your thumb, it's probably recyclable through the store WRAP programs at Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyers. If not, it's trash.
Better yet! Eliminate plastic bags from your lifestyle by using reusable bags!
You can find more information about the WRAP campaign at www.plasticfilmrecycling.org
Read more about plastic bags in our recycling facilities at www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/plastics