Many of us have gotten in the habit of using plastic bags we get from stores to gather things around the house. For example; I use them to clean out the cat box, collect small trash can waste, or to put soiled children’s clothing in before going back in the diaper bag. Those examples are fine because they end up going in the trash after their re-use. The problem is when they find their way to our recycling bins.
People think “it’s plastic so it’s recyclable” …well it is re-usable, but not recyclable. The machines that are made to handle 1. PETE Polyethylene Terephthalate is in pop and water bottles and 2. HDPE High Density Polyethylene is opaque and usually in bottles that store laundry detergent and milk, are not able to handle “soft” plastic like bags or film.
The problem is the bags get caught up in the machinery used to recycle other products. This costs not only money to fix the machines but time as well. Think of the brush on your vacuum cleaner and what happens when a string gets caught up around it. That is the same effect these plastic bags have on the machinery.
Many stores now have bins you can put your used, clean, untorn bags in for reuse if you can’t find a way to use them up at home. You can also help by not using these bags at all and purchasing a re usable shopping bag.