The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the world consumes somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags each year, with millions ending up in landfills, oceans, lakes, rivers, trees, and streets.
Soft Plastic Bag Recycling in San Francisco
Currently, Recology does not accept soft plastic bags because they jam up their recycling machines. However, many grocery stores in the Bay Area have collection bins for these soft plastic bags. For example, Safeway collects soft plastics at all of their stores, and then sends it to a company called Trex Co. to be recycled into plastic decking, fencing, railing and furniture. For more information on Trex, visit their website.
What Are Considered Soft Plastic Bags?
Grocery bags, bread bags, case overwrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, wood pellet bags, ziplock and other re-sealable bags, produce bags, bubble wrap, salt bags, cereal bags, etc. All materials must be clean, dry and free of food residue to be recycled.
Reuse Before You Recycle
Before you recycle your plastic bags, consider reusing them as much as possible. They can be very handy for storing leftovers or produce, packaging lunches, picking up pet waste, and for general organization. Check out this fun Pinterest board which shows many creative uses for plastic bags and links to more soft plastic information.
A list of San Francisco businesses that recycle soft plastic can be found on the SF Environment website.
Here are a few examples of soft plastic: