Are Ziploc Bags Recyclable ?

The average American family blows through five hundred Ziploc bags every year. That’s a lot of trash to be sitting around in a landfill! Are Ziploc bags recyclable, and how can we reuse them? According to Ziploc, “Yes, it’s true, Ziploc® brand bags are recyclable. Really! Just look for the bin next time you’re at your local participating store. Your used Ziploc® brand bags (clean and dry) go in the same bins as those plastic shopping bags.”

If Ziploc Bags Are Recyclable Why Can’t We Throw Them In The Bin With Our Other Plastics?


Ziploc bags are made from polyethylene plastic resin number four. Their substance makes them easy to recycle, but they must be kept separate from the plastic you recycle on your curbside. Because the bags are so light, they tend to get tangled in the complex recycling equipment. So, because we can’t recycle them curbside, it is up to us to dispose of them properly.

There are recycling centers and retail stores that will gladly accept bags for recycling. These places will often take plastic grocery bags, retail bags, newspaper bags, toilet paper, napkins and paper towel wraps, as well as plastic shipping envelopes in addition to Ziploc bags. Many also take dry-cleaning bags and bread and produce bags from the supermarket.

Before you responsibly recycle your Ziploc bag, try to get as many uses out of it as you can. If you have food store in a Ziploc, wash it out with dish soap and water and set it out to dry. You can fashion a “bag” dryer out of a plastic hanger, or use clips to hold them up. If you aren’t comfortable putting more food in the bag, use these clean baggies to organize pens and pencils, craft supplies, or children’s toys.

Then, next time you go shopping, invest a dollar or two into some Tupperware, so that you can avoid using throw-out bags altogether. That way you won’t have to worry about recycling Ziplocs, and you will be able to save money while making a good effort to help out our earth.

Although we commonly refer to these bags as Ziplocs, there are many other brands of baggies that serve the same purpose and can also be recycled. Common names for these bags include “snack bags,” food storage bags, and sandwich bags. Essentially any self sealing bag can be considered a Ziploc and is a candidate for recycling.

It is important that we recycle Ziploc bags and dispose of our waste properly. When we recycle, we save our raw resources, save money, and improve the earth exponentially. Toxic substances sitting in landfills get warmed up, then emit noxious gases that have many detrimental health effects for those of us close by, including children. Additionally, they leach and contaminate the soil that the landfill is on.

Now that you know Ziploc bags are recyclable, you can make an effort to reduce our waste by taking them back to the supermarket, reusing them yourself, and opting for re-usable products to hold food.


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