For many years, MMSM has encouraged consumers to use the 3Rs when it comes to plastic bags – reduce, reuse and recycle. Read more to learn why plastic bags aren’t accepted for recycling, and tips on what to do with the bags already in your home.

Plastic bags don’t belong in the bin!

Plastic bags and film are recyclable, but not in your blue bin. When your recycling is picked up from the curb, it’s brought to the Material Recycling Facility (MRF). From there, recyclables pass through the sorting belts and machinery, get baled, then are shipped to be made into something new.

Plastic bags and film are problematic at the MRF for a few reasons. If a bag makes its way into the machinery, everything will need to be shut off so staff can manually remove the bags. This slows everything down and causes huge delays for baling recyclables.

Recyclables should be put in loosely, so they’re able to be sorted easily at the MRF. Bagged recyclables also pose a danger to the sorting staff because they can’t see what’s inside the bag – which could be anything, ranging from garbage, recyclables, or food waste.


Tips for recycling your bags

If plastic bags can’t be recycled in your curbside blue bin, what should you do?

When you’re out and about, remember to bring a reusable bag with you. Say “no” when a retailer offers you a plastic bag. We don’t need a bag (paper or plastic) for only a few items.

Where possible, reuse the bags in your home. Plastic bags can be reused for several things, such as:

  • Stuffing/packing material
  • Picking up pet wastes
  • Garbage can liners

Also, remember to recycle the plastic bags already in your home. You can find a list of stores accepting plastic bags here.


When it comes to plastic bags, it’s important to remember the 3Rs – reduce your use of plastic bags, reuse the ones you already have, and recycle the ones that remain.

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