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  • Posted on
  • By Anna Duncan

About two months ago I posted “10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle But Should” up on the blog and last week I posted, “Recycle Right: Apparel and Textiles” (go check it out!). In honor of “America Recycles Day” on November 15th (right around the corner), I started a series on the blog called, “Recycle Right” and this is the second installment of said series!

This series comes after meeting with with two women that work with Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources, Jennifer Semrau, Waste Reduction and Diversion Coordinator for the DNR, and Samara Hamze, a program specialist for the DNR.  

     Today we focus on plastic bags of all kinds: plastic grocery bags, ziploc bags, poly bags (the bags that come in your Amazon shipments and around your dry cleaning), and more.  None of these items can go in your curbside bins but they can still be (and should be) recycled properly. Below are steps you can take to recycle all those pesky plastic bags!

      First and foremost, clean out the bags completely.  Sometimes we think this goes without saying, but people still turn in plastic bags that have dirt, receipts, or even food in them! So first, make sure the bags are empty and clean.  

     Next, keep a bag of plastic bags under your kitchen sink or in your pantry.  You can’t be expected to drop off bags after every grocery trip! Keep a collection and then recycle 50-100 at once.

    The biggest question is where to take these bags.  Most big grocery store chains (Target, Walmart, Kroger, etc) have collection bins for used plastic bags.  They will take (clean) single use plastic bags, ziploc bags (definitely washed out), and the poly bags that come around your online ordered products or dry cleaning.  Bins are normally located near the front entrance of the store but if you can’t see it, just ask a clerk next time you’re making your grocery trip.

   I’d like to note, there are some counties across the United States that accept plastic bags in curbside recycling bins.  These counties, however, are few and far between! If you think your county is one of them, give it a quick google search.  If not, grocery store chains are your safest (and easiest) bet! Below is a list of stores that accept plastic bags!


STORES THAT TAKE PLASTIC BAGS BACK: Single Use Plastic Grocery Bags, Plastic Film Bags, and Ziploc Bags

(At participating locations.  Call ahead or ask next time you’re there to confirm!)

-Pick N’ Save/Kroger



-J.C Penney


-Whole Foods


-Stater Bros.