Live Consciously Idea #4 - Recycle Those Plastic Bags

I hate the idea of plastic grocery bags, but I am guilty of loving the convenience of them. When I go to places like California where I get charged for using them, I feel like I deserve to pay. The cashiers look at me like I'm crazy when I say "I think the charging for plastic thing is a great idea" as I grab my plastic bags and flash an embarrassed look. Where I always have reusable bags in my car, I am bad about running into a store and forgetting them. Then comes another shame cycle for collecting more plastic bags because I don't realize I forgot them until I am paying. To quell this guilt, I was using the little bags in small trash cans or to carry my lunch, but that is bad too because they end up in landfills or blowing around and polluting everything. I was wondering why we can't put plastic bags in the recycle bins provided by the city. In an article on Recyclebank, my questions were answered. It turns out they are not easy to recycle. This is in part due to their form. The fact that they are thin and floppy means they can get snagged or tangled in machinery. This slows down the processing and makes recycling in general less cost effective. There are recycle cans however at many grocery stores like Target, Walmart, Sprouts, and others for plastic bags. The bins specific for plastic bags can accept clean and dry plastic such as grocery bags, bread and produce bags, zipper lock bags, plastic packaging found around bulk food items, newspaper bags, and plastic cereal box liners. After reading this, I realized I don't have any more excuses. So, I purchased a third bin for my kitchen and three smaller ones for my bathrooms dedicated to plastic alone. When you drop your plastic in these store bins, they are taken to separate facilities where they are turned into composite wood materials, pallets, crates, and more. With this recycling option available I can't shed the entirety of my plastic guilt, but I can avoid the nervous breakdown that may come with trying to ditch all forms of plastic all together.


  1. Hi there, this is good to know that the grocery store bins will accept more than just the plastic grocery bags. I'm so glad I found your blog! I am a student at the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability. thank you for your insight! I'll be posting some of my homework assignments on my blog, soon.

    1. I'm glad the post was useful to you. Please share your blog URL with me. I'm always excited to learn new things about sustainability and the environment.


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