We here at Humfeld Chiropractic and Nutrition Center care not only about our physical and mental health but also our environment. Near and dear to us is the ever-growing problem of plastic bags not being recycled properly or worse, not at all. We would like to bring some light to this problem and make a positive impact on improving recycling. Plastic bags are a huge problem. Not everyone is aware that most county recycling centers do not accept plastic packaging or plastic bags in the recycling totes.

Why is it important to recycle plastic bags?

Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They will outlive both you and me. They release chemicals, contaminate our soil and water, and remain intact for hundreds or even thousands of years. Recycling them helps our environment (and ourselves) in several ways.

  1. Reduces Oil Consumption

Plastic bags are made from crude oil derivatives or natural gas. This means, the more plastic bags are manufactured, the more non-renewable fossils fuels will be consumed.

Recycling plastic bags can cut back on oil consumption significantly. Did you know recycling 1 ton of plastic bags saves crude oil equivalent to 16.3 barrels?

  1. Reduces Waste

Since plastic bags do not biodegrade, they will always exist whether it’s in a landfill or the ocean.  If you haven’t taken a visit to your local county landfill, please do so to learn the magnitude of this problem. Recycling used plastic bags significantly decreases the amount of waste that goes to landfills. Most often this waste ends up in waterways and the ocean.  Unfortunately, landfills play a major role in the destruction of our environment but recycling plastic bags helps reduce land and water pollution.

  1. Reduces Energy Consumption

The process of making plastic bags is long and complicated. It consumes a significant amount of energy.  Although recycling plastic bags uses energy as well, (they must be cleaned, shredded, melted and remolded) the energy required is relatively less than what it takes to make a fresh plastic bag.

Fact: recycling 1 ton of plastic bags saves the electric energy equivalent to 5,774 kilowatts/hour!

  1. Encourages Sustainable Use

The recycling of plastic bags promotes careful and sustainable use. Recycling plastic bags is easier than you think. In almost all counties (including here in Rice County,) we have plastic bag recycling bins at HyVee and Walmart. Consumers place approved plastic bags in the bins which are then collected by Trex Recycling. They are then made into beautiful outdoor materials, such as composite decking. Visit Trex Recycling to learn more about how your business or school can partake!

But wait! It’s not just recycling plastic shopping bags!

These In-Store Recycling Bins accept much more than shopping bags. Here’s a list of other plastic bags to bring along with:

Newspaper sleeves, bread bags, softener salt bags, produce wrappers, cereal box bag liners, ice bags, Ziploc bags, packaging air pillows, bubble wrap, plastic pet food bags…) Don’t throw these out in your waste side trash! Bring it with (clean, dry and all bundled up in 1 bag) and drop off the next time you are grocery shopping!

Top Left: Packaging Air bubbles, bubble wrap, plastic padded mailer, plastic envelope mailers

Bottom Right: tortilla shell wrapper, inner cereal bag, frozen food outer wrap, bread bag, produce bag, potato bag, apple bag

All the above plastic bag materials should be recycled at your local store drop-off site!

Unsure what and where you can recycle? Find your county and click to enter in any item to find out how to recycle it.

Click to go to Rice County Recycling Website Waste Wizard here

Click to go to Steele County Recycling Website A-Z Guide here

Click to go to Dakota County Recycling Green Guide here

Click to go to Goodhue County Recycling Website main page here