Solid Waste & Recycling Newsletter

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Solid Waste & Recycling Newsletter

RecycleRightNY: That's a Wrap for Plastic Carryout Bags!

BYOB graphicAs of March 1, 2020, all plastic carryout bags (other than certain exempt bags) are banned from distribution by entities required to collect sales tax in New York State. You can help and BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag!

This law will greatly reduce the number of plastic bags we use and will prevent litter, but did you know there is still a ton of film plastic out there other than plastic carryout bags that can be recycled at convenient drop-off bins? Some examples of other film plastic include:

  • newspaper bags
  • bread bags
  • dry cleaning bags
  • air pillows
  • produce bags
  • product overwrap around items like paper towels

Drop If Off

Remember: although recyclable, you should never include flexible film plastic in your home recycling bin - it gets stuck in the machinery at your recycling facility and will not be properly recycled there. Return to retail drop-off bins for recycling film plastic are still available for all of the other film plastics that are generated from stores and products. Better yet, think of other ways to BYOBag such as trying reusable product bags!

Follow these steps to recycle film plastic correctly:

  • determine if your plastic item is film plastic
  • collect clean, dry, film plastic
  • find a drop-off location
  • return film plastic to designated bins at retail locations throughout the state
  • Do not put film plastics in your home recycling bin

Unsure? Try the Stretch Test

Only film plastics can be recycled in drop-off bins. The stretch test is an easy way to figure out whether or not plastic is film and can be recycled in drop-off bins. Usually if the material is stretchy, you can recycle it in return-to-retail film plastic recycling bins (there are a couple exceptions to watch out for). If it doesn't stretch, tear like paper, or crinkle loudly it belongs in the trash. You can also look for the "How2Recycle" label available on some product packaging for recycling instructions.

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