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What to do with plastic bags

Part of a series about hard to recycle items

A plastic bag, flying high in the air,

Whirling around and around.

Floating in the whirlwind, without a care,

In the blue above the ground.

Dancing in the sky, amidst the clouds,

Higher and higher still.

No fear, no sorrow, no qualms, no doubts,

Borne on the thermals, without a will.

Lost in oblivion, high in the blue,

Where she'll come down, nobody knows.

Floating in a realm, not for me or you,

Wherever the wind, decides to blow.

You see them on the side of the road, stuck in trees and fences, and on the banks of the river. While it’s idyllic to think the wind has control of the fate of plastic bags and other “film plastics”, the responsibility is on us to ensure that they don’t end up in these places.

You can reduce plastic bag use by taking your own reusable bags to the store, or getting paper bags - but we all end up with them at some point.

You can re-use them for future shopping trips, use them for trash liners or pet waste bags, or use them to stuff outdoor pillows, sew a rug, or some other fun upcycle project.

But sometimes you end up with more plastic bags than you intended — how can you recycle them?

Unfortunately, because they are so light they can’t be recycled in a traditional recycling processing facility. They get stuck in the machines causing complications to the recycling process.

However, there are some places that accept plastic bags. These facilities have plastic bag balers, specialty recycling machinery designed to take plastic bags and other film plastics and make them into bales that can be sold and recycled into other items.

If you’re looking for a place to recycle your plastic bags, feel free to look at this website HERE for a comprehensive list - although to get you started we recommend you stop by your local Target, Walmart, Kroger or Meijer locations to recycle your bags. They usually have bins by the front doors for you to drop your bags on your way in.

And if you’d like to help add one more drop off location to the Detroit area, our friends at Recycle Here! are currently fundraising to purchase their own film plastic recycling baler. To learn more, or support them you can click HERE.

No matter what you do, remember to keep your plastic bags from blowing around letting the wind decide the fate of the bags. The birds, bees, fish, and your neighbors will thank you.

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