If you are like me when you approach the recycling bins you aren’t sure what goes where. There are so many recycling myths and misunderstandings floating around. If you are trying to do it correctly you will need to inquire at different sources.The most important point is that recycling is decided on a community by community basis – so the list of items that can be put into recycling bins differs widely from community to community. Here in Nyack you can go to their website to learn more about the current program.

I had a working theory about plastic bags and plastic wrap. My thought was that that they were made from a petroleum product therefore they go into the plastic recycling bin. Wrong!

While a few curbside programs accept plastic bags, wraps and film, most don’t. Why? Most recycling facilities are set up to handle predominately rigid (hard) materials that are easier to separate using machinery:

You can recycle plastic bags and plastic wrap. It’s easy. More than 18,000 retail locations across the country – such as large grocery chains, home improvement stores, Walmart, Target, etc. – provide collection bins for these plastic bags/wraps/film, usually in the storefront close to the main entrance. Since you picked up your grocery or shopping bags at these stores, why not just return them on your next trip? Many people collect them over time, along with dry cleaning film, wraps from paper towels, newspaper delivery bags and more, and then stuff them into the storefront bins. When these bags/wraps/film get recycled, they are turned into new products, such as backyard decking, fences, playground equipment, pipes … and even new plastic bags.

Do yourself, your community recycling program, and the environment a favor and check out Earth911.com and PlasticFilmRecycling.org to see where and what bags/wraps/film are accepted – plus take a quick minute to learn what is collected curbside in your community.