Reducing, reusing and recycling plastic bags and wrap

February 8, 2015 – 08:36 am

Poster promoting plastic film and bag recyclingPlastic film, which includes many types of bags and wrap, is everywhere in our lives. In part because of their convenience and abundance, though, these valuable resources are often used in excess, wasted, buried in landfills or littered in our streets.

There are easy and cost effective ways to reduce waste and recapture the benefits of plastic bags and wrap after their initial use. Individuals and businesses can reduce excessive use of bags and wrap, reuse them or recycle them. Industrial shrink wrap used in packaging can be recycled and is in high demand by manufacturers as a raw material. Individuals, schools, non-profits, workplaces and communities can collect plastic bags and wrap for recycling or promote local recycling programs. One opportunity for involvement is through Wisconsin WRAP, the Wrap Recycling Action Project.

Reduce the number of bags you use and reuse plastic bags

Look for this poster at a Wisconsin collection site near you.
Poster courtesy of

The first and best option for reducing plastic waste is to minimize single-use plastics in your daily life. Actions you can take include:

  • Reduce your use of disposable shopping bags by using a reusable bag or container when shopping.
  • Reuse old plastic bags for multiple shopping trips.
  • Re-purpose plastic bags as trash liners or pet waste bags.
  • Refuse a bag for easy-to-carry purchases.
  • Buy products in bulk.

Many grocery stores offer durable, washable bags to customers at an affordable price. Using these bags on a regular basis can create less waste than paper or plastic, and washing them regularly helps prevent the spread of dirt and germs.

What can be recycled: more than shopping bags

If you have plastic bags and wrap you can't reuse, you can often recycle them at stores or other drop-off sites if they are clean and dry.

Collection of plastic bags for recycling at a drop-off location Wisconsin WRAP Logo Plastic bags in trees Bales of plastic bags and film ready for sale.


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