Don't trash it: How to handle exceptional recyclables
Though Ziploc® Bags and many other materials shouldn't be placed in home recycling bins, certain locations have special drop-offs available for these unique items.
Content provided by SC Johnson
Article Credit: Originally published on Ziploc.com
We’re thrilled to announce that Ziploc® Brand Bags are recyclable. Simply visit just about any store that offers a plastic-bag recycling program and place your used Ziploc® Bags (clean and dry) in the same bins as those plastic shopping bags.
The Importance of Recycling
“Recycling” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? Well, recycling is the process of turning materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable raw materials that can be used to manufacture new products. It’s an important step in creating a more sustainable future.
Why is recycling important? Well, in most cases, the recycling process uses far less energy than manufacturing a product from brand new raw materials, which means you’re saving energy when you recycle. Plus, recycling:
- Conserves natural resources
- Helps reduce the pollution caused by manufacturing products from scratch
- And helps prevent landfills from filling up with trash
All in all, recycling helps protect the environment for future generations.
Why Plastic Bags Are Recycled Differently
There’s a reason why you can’t place Ziploc® Bags and other plastic bags in your recycling bin at home. When you put all of your recycling into your household recycling bin, it’s called Single Stream Recycling—and it’s a pretty high-tech operation. Trucks carry your recycling to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) where all those plastic bottles and metals get separated so they can be processed and re-made into new products. The items are placed on a conveyor belt, where different materials get separated in different ways.
First, paper and cardboard get separated out by a machine with fast, rotating wheels. Then huge magnets pull out some of the metals. Other metals that a magnet won’t grab, like aluminum, are pulled out by a machine called an “Eddy Current Rotor.” Plastic and glass move on down the line to an Optical Scanning System, which recognizes the plastics and blows them away with a blast of air. The heavier glass moves on to the end of the line where it falls into its own glass bins.
Since plastic bags (like Ziploc® Bags) and wrappers are lightweight and flexible and come in a lot of different sizes and shapes, they can get tangled up in the machines that sort all the other recyclables and force the whole line to shut down. That’s why certain locations, like recycling centers and retail stores, have made themselves available as drop-offs for these unique recyclables. Here’s a list of items you can recycle at these locations:
- Ziploc® Bags (clean and dry)
- Plastic grocery bags
- Plastic retail bags
- Newspaper bags
- Dry-cleaning bags
- Bread bags and produce bags
- Toilet paper, napkin and paper-towel wraps
- Plastic shipping envelopes
- All clean bags labeled #2 or #4
So even though you can’t place Ziploc® Bags in your recycling bin at home, it’s still easy to recycle them. Just visit a store or recycling center that offers a plastic-bag recycling program and place your used Ziploc® Bags (clean and dry) in the same bins as those plastic shopping bags.
To learn more about recycling plastic bags, visit www.plasticbagrecycling.org.
The content above was provided by SC Johnson and is not subject to MNN Editorial Review. MNN is not responsible for the accuracy, objectivity or balance of this content.