Here in Sacramento, I make sure to take my bags and product overwraps back to my neighborhood Raley’s every week for recycling. It’s a habit that fits easily into my regular routine. But in LA, residents don’t have to bring it back because their curbside bins accept bags and film, and a new report indicates that they’re embracing that option in impressive numbers.
The study, recently released by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc., shows a remarkable 39 percent growth in the curbside recycling of plastic bags and film in Los Angeles County between 2007 and 2009. While bags and film can include clings and product wraps, plastic bag recycling alone grew by 62 percent during this time period, suggesting that Los Angeles County Residents, in increasing numbers, are taking advantage of being able to put their plastic bags and film into curbside recycling bins.
Plastic bags and film comprise a broad category of materials that can be recycled together, including plastic grocery and retail bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, commercial pallet wrap, and product wraps from bread, beverage cases, diapers, baby wipes and bulk snack foods.
In addition to the curbside collection of plastic bags and film, there is a growing infastructure of approximately 400 large grocery and retail stores in Los Angeles County and over 15,000 nationwide that take back plastic bags and film for recycling. Plastic bags and film can go on to live second lives as durable composite decking, home building products, and even new plastic bags!
No matter where you live in California, large grocers and pharmacies will take back your plastic bags and film for recycling. Ironically, bag bans have the potential to eliminate these programs.
And now that we’re seeing evidence of just how well bag recycling is catching on with Los Angeles families, it’s better timing than ever to maintain and expand programs to recycle bags. It doesn’t matter if recycling happens curbside or at the store; recycling works, and this study suggests that when education meets opportunity, we’re all empowered to recycle more and make a difference.
For more information on where to recycle your bags or additional information on innovative plastic bag recycling programs, visit http://www.plasticbagfacts.org.