Help! What Should I Do with This Unwanted Bag?

By Rachael on November 30, 2017

Bags are everywhere. Most of us probably use them in one form or another almost every day. But what do we do with them when we’re done? Now there’s a complicated question. Some bags can be recycled in your regular recycling collection, some can be recycled, but not in your curbside cart, some bags can’t be recycled at all. Read on for details on some of the most frequently used bags.

Plastic Film Bags

Includes: Plastic grocery bags; resealable, Ziploc-style bags; heavier plastic bags from clothing stores, gift shops, etc.; newspaper delivery bags; bread bags; dry cleaning bags; cereal box liners

Reduce Options: If you just have one or two items, opt to carry them out of the store rather than using a bag. Otherwise, take your own reusable, cloth bags to grocery and other stores to avoid using disposable bags. Make use of reusable plastic containers in place of Ziploc-style bags.

Reuse Options: Many plastic bags can be reused. Ziploc-style bags, bread bags can be washed out, dried and used over and over. Plastic shopping bags and grocery bags can also be used over and over.

Recycling Options: These items are not recyclable through your Granger curbside recycling collection (except for Granger customers living in Kent and Ottawa Counties) or at Granger recycling drop-offs. However, they can be recycled at many grocery and retail stores. Look for a bin near the front door or near the returnable bottle/can collection area.

 

Paper Bags

Includes: Brown paper grocery bags; brown paper shopping bags (handle bags or without handles); paper lunch sacks; kraft gift bags

Reduce Options: Pass on the bag if you only have a few items or come to grocery stores and other retail stores prepared with your own reusable, cloth bags. Invest in a reusable cloth or nylon lunch sack in your favorite color or sporting your team’s logo.

Reuse Options: Just about any paper bag can be used multiple times as long as it doesn’t get too wet or dirty. You can also use them for art projects. Check out Pinterest for some really cool ideas.

Recycling Options: Brown paper bags of any type can be put in your Granger curbside collection or recycled at a drop-off center with cardboard or boxboard. Please remove any handles that are not paper from bags before recycling.

 

Cloth/Nylon/Leather Bags

Includes: tote bags, backpacks, reusable cloth grocery bags, purses

Reduce Options: You probably don’t need that bag or purse in every color, but we’re not judging.

Reuse Options: The possibilities are endless. If they get dirty, just throw them in the wash. Keep using them until they fall apart.

Recycling Options: When your reusable bags have outlived their usefulness, try textile recycling. It’s super easy and available at Granger’s Lansing and Jackson recycling drop-offs.

 

Metalized Polypropylene

Includes: Potato chip and other snack bags

Reduce Options: Buy your snacks in big bags or from the bulk section and divvy up individual servings in reusable containers.

Reuse Options: Believe it or not, you can use your snack bags to create art. Check out some of these wacky ideas: https://techcrunch.com/2010/12/05/five-snack-hacks-that-repurpose-empty-potato-chip-bags/.

Recycling Options: These items are not recyclable through your Granger curbside recycling collection or at Granger recycling drop-offs. There are a few options online where you can send your bags for recycling. For example, take advantage of TerraCycle’s Snack Bag Recycling Program (https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/haincelestial) that melts the bags into hard plastic that can be used to make other plastic products.


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