Category Archives: Recycling Impacts

Reusable Bag Recycling Rate Lower Than Plastic Bags

The majority of reusable bags currently in use in California are made from non-woven Polypropylene (PP) or fabrics such as cotton.  While PP is technically recyclable, currently there is no recycling infrastructure for PP bags in the state of California.  Furthermore, although cotton bags are technically compostable, there is no composting facility currently available.  Hence, both PP and cotton reusable bags must be disposed of in the trash or landfill.

A very small percentage (much less than 5%) of reusable bags are made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE).  These bags are recyclable via the In-Store Recycling Bin at your local retail store.

Environmentalists like to say that the recycling rate for plastic grocery bags is only 5% and therefore they should be banned.  But the recycling rate for reusable bags is closer to 0%.  Should they not be banned?

Sample Letter Opposing Bag Ban and Carryout Bag Fees

Assembly Member <Enter name Here>

I am requesting that you vote NO on any plastic bag ban or bag fee.  A plastic bag ban is worse for the environment than the status quo.  Currently, under the Clean Water Act and the local Total Maximum Daily Loads program, trash excluder or capture devices are being installed in storm drain catch basins or outfalls.  This will capture and prevent trash including plastic bags from getting into creeks and rivers and flow to the ocean.  80% of plastic in the ocean comes from land based sources via the storm drain; hence, trash excluders will prevent most bags from reaching the ocean.  While the solution is not 100%, a 100% solution is not required since not all plastic bags are banned.  Furthermore, reusable bags are not all recyclable.  Continue reading Sample Letter Opposing Bag Ban and Carryout Bag Fees

Plastic Carry-Out Bag Ban – More Plastic Headed To Landfill

One of the unintended consequences of banning plastic carry out bags is that more plastic will be headed to the landfill the exact opposite of what proponents of the plastic carry out bag ban want.
California state law (AB 2449) requires retail stores that issue plastic carry out bags at the checkout counter must have a recycling container in or outside each store. This recycling container not only accepts plastic carry out bags, but also other plastic bags and shrink wrap. These include produce bags, dry-cleaning bags, bread bags, newspaper bags and shrink wraps from paper towels, bathroom tissue, napkins, and diapers. Continue reading Plastic Carry-Out Bag Ban – More Plastic Headed To Landfill