How Reusable Bags Solve the Recycling Problem

Do you know where that recycled plastic bag goes? - Garbage in a landfill.

Does recycling disposable plastic bags work? An independent study indicates it doesn’t. Trackers placed inside disposable plastic bags dropped off at recycling facilities indicated that most were not recycled. Find out more about this study and learn why going reusable is more of a guarantee of your green efforts than recycling is and how businesses can benefit from it.

Tracking the Issue

ABC News wanted to determine what happens to single-use plastic shopping bags after they are deposited into recycling bins in large retailers. The purpose of these bins is so customers can bring their used bags back to be recycled. ABC News worked with nine ABC-owned stations and affiliates and placed trackers inside clean bundles of disposable plastic bags. A total of 46 trackers were placed across 10 states. An interesting discovery was made as the location of each bundle was tracked.

Some trackers pinged at trash incinerator facilities, and others were transported to landfills. Other trackers gave a final location alert at transfer stations that do not sort or recycle plastic. Three trackers ended up in Asia, and many never left the store where they were initially placed, even after several months.

Only four trackers found their way to facilities that recycle disposable plastic bags.

Breaking Down the Data

According to the most recent data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published in 2018, less than 10% of plastic waste is recycled. The sample size was small, but ABC’s research revealed that roughly 22% of the trackers made it to recycling facilities. While that number is disappointing, it’s more upsetting to see other trackers end up in landfills or never move.

Recycling disposable plastic bags has not proven to be an effective solution. A lot of energy and money has been sunk into recycling efforts, but the results are not there. Inadequate recycling programs lead to increased non-biodegradable items in landfills, materials that still have some use and function being destroyed in incinerators, or result in bags just sitting around.

Viable Solution

The options for recycling disposable plastic bags currently in place are not working. The best solution to the disposable plastic problem is to go reusable and make the switch to reusable shopping bags. Reusable bags can be used again and again, so there is no need for disposable plastic bags. So each time you use a reusable bag, you’re guaranteeing less waste, whereas with recycling, even though you do your part, it’s still likely that your bag will wind up being non-biodegradable waste in a landfill somewhere. Eliminating disposable plastic in favor of reusable plastic is the most effective way to reduce litter and streamline recycling efforts.

Choose the style and color, then send us your artwork, or design your own reusable bag for something unique that will appeal to your customers. Reusable bags are eco-friendly and make it easy for customers to carry items without using single-use plastic bags. Custom reusable bags are also excellent marketing items. Your branding information will be displayed as customers carry your branded reusable shopping bags.

Help Your Customers Go Green

There isn’t currently an effective solution to recycling disposable plastic bags, but you can make it easy for your customers to lessen their environmental impact with reusable shopping bags.

We’ve been helping our customers create custom, reusable shopping bags for years, and we want to help you, too! Call us at 866-222-0949 or shop our full line of eco-friendly promotional items and get your custom quote.

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