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How to recycle / dispose plastic bags

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Reduce the Use of Plastic Bags

Single use plastic bags can impact streams, rivers, lakes, oceans and forests and the wildlife that inhabit them. Currently there are 15 states, including the District of Columbia, that have adopted plastic bag legislation. Montgomery County passed legislation in 2012 requiring retail establishments to charge customers for carryout bags. For more information, visit reusable bags and the Montgomery County carryout bag law.

To reduce plastic bag consumption – always remember to bring your reusable bag when shopping.

As an added benefit, you can save $.05 per bag in Montgomery County every time you shop. However, if you choose to purchase a plastic bag when shopping, those funds are provided to the Department of Environmental Protection for programs that help improve and protect the water quality of the streams and rivers in the County. For more information on these programs, visit Water Quality Protection Charge (WQPC) and Watershed Restoration.

Reuse Plastic Bags

If you have plastic bags, please use and reuse them to the maximum extent possible. Next step, recycle.

Recycle plastic bags, films, and wraps

Recycle plastic bags and other types of plastic film at local grocery and retail stores throughout the County. Look for collection bins near store entrances.

Find bag and film recycling drop-offs near you using the locator on plasticfilmrecycling.org.

What plastic bags, films and wraps are accepted in store recycling programs?

Grocery and retail store plastic bag recycling drop-offs generally accept all clean, dry plastic bags, shrink wrap, and plastic film.

This includes plastic newspaper sleeves, bread bags, and dry-cleaning bags, as well as most plastic wrapping covering paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, and cases of water. Clean and dry plastic food storage bags, like Ziploc® bags are accepted too.

Remember to remove receipts and other papers from bags and separately recycle the paper.

Refer to this list of generally accepted plastic from plasticfilmrecycling.org for more details.

Are bubble wrap and air pillows included?

Bubble wrap and air pillows are also accepted for recycling at plastic bag and film drop-offs.

Reuse is even better than recycling! Some options include

  • bringing it to a local packaging or mailbox store
  • offering it on your neighborhood email list
  • offering it on Craigslist, Freecycle, or similar places

Can plastic bags, film, and wrap go in my curbside recycling bin?

No, plastic bags are not acceptable in your weekly County-provided curbside recycling collection, so please do not put any plastic bags into your recycling bin.

Locations accepted

  • Transfer Station
  • Curbside Collection
  • Other

Material type

  • Trash
  • Other