If you’ve ever thought that recycling your plastic retail bags and other plastics is too difficult to even bother, you may want to think again.

Results of a study funded by the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), show that more than 91 percent of the U.S. population has access to plastic bag recycling and nearly 75 percent have access to plastic film recycling.

The study concluded that most of that access comes thanks to more than 15,000 drop-off locations, most of which can be found at retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. The study noted that retailers have been recycling film and bag material for more than two decades, benefiting from revenue generated by selling scrap material and avoiding disposal costs.

Most recycled bags and film end up as composite lumber that can used for fences, benches, decks, door and window frames, and even playground equipment.

So what’s the difference between a plastic bag and plastic wrap and film? While both are recyclable, a plastic bag includes items such as grocery bags, t-shirt bags and retail bags with hard plastic and string handles removed, while plastic wrap and film includes items like newspaper bags, produce bags, furniture and electronic wrap, bread bags and Ziploc® brand Sandwich Bags.

The report concluded that, while the results show there’s widespread access to plastic bag and wrap recycling, the access is not being used to its full potential. The belief is that this is largely due to a lack of education and outreach promoting film, wrap and bag recycling.

Many household brands, such as Ziploc® brand, have been working diligent to rectify the situation and to make it easier for consumers to identify what products can be recycled and how. For instance, in addition to launching a recycling program a few years ago, Ziploc® brand introduced new packaging as part of How2Recycle, a program developed by GreenBlue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable packaging. The new labels include information about how Ziploc® brand bags and the packaging itself can be recycled. The labels indicate whether the box can be recycled with other paper goods, if the plastic bags are recyclable with plastic products at store drop-offs and even include special instructions such as “Recycle if Clean & Dry.”

Learn more about plastic bag recyclability and the recycling efforts of Ziploc® brand at www.Ziploc.com/Sustainability.

Recycling plastic bags and film is easier than you think
Study shows access to plastic bag & film recycling is on the rise.