Department of Environmental Conservation

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Plastic Bag and Film Plastics Recycling for Consumers

Consumers will be able to recycle film plastics at certain retail stores and most grocery stores. Stores must make recycling collection bins for film plastics available to customers in a visible, easily accessible location. If film plastics collection containers are not available in a regulated store, please email or call (518) 402-8706. We will need the store name and location (street address and city).

What are Acceptable Film Plastics for Recycling?

The law requires that stores collect film plastics, which include:
Note: All materials must be CLEAN and dry

Plastic grocery bags
Plastic retail bags with string ties removed
Plastic newspaper bags
Plastic dry-cleaning bags
Plastic produce bags with ALL food residue removed
Plastic bread bags with ALL food residue removed
Plastic cereal bags with ALL food residue removed
Plastic wrap from paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, etc)
Plastic stretch/shrink wrap with all food residue removed
Plastic zipper type bags

What may be Acceptable at some Retail Stores?

Plastic bubble wrap
Plastic air pillows found inside shipping packages
Plastic shipping envelopes
Plastic from pellet bags with ALL residue removed
Plastic salt bags with rigid plastic handles removed and all residue removed

What are UNACCEPTABLE Film Plastics?

Plastic bags with strings
Plastic bags with food residue
Plastic soil or mulch bags
Plastic food containers
Plastic bottles

Why Recycle Film Plastics?

By recycling film plastics, you can provide valuable materials to manufacturers of plastic lumber, plastic bags and other useful products. Using film plastics as feedstock, in place of virgin plastics, reduces our demand for oil. In addition, recycling film plastics help reduce waste and litter which means cleaner streets and waterways, and less materials in the landfill. Film plastics can also be dangerous to animals that ingest them or are strangled by them.

All the film plastics collected in this program will be sent to a recycling facility to be manufactured into a new product like composite lumber or new bags.

What are Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Grocery Bags?

Instead of using a plastic grocery bag, you can:

  • Use canvas, cloth or a durable plastic bag made for multiple use. Reusable bags are more environmentally friendly than paper or plastic. Under the law, any store required to recycle plastic bags must also sell reusable bags. Keep them in your car for the next time you have to run out for groceries.
  • Say "No thank you." Not all items require a bag so tell the clerk, "No thank you." Carry small purchase items like a magazine, one piece of candy, or drink to the car instead of in a plastic bag.
  • Reuse them. There are many great uses for plastic carryout bags such as trash can liners in the home, for doggie waste or to use again at a retail store. Get creative and find new ways to reuse those bags.
  • Tell a friend. Get others to recycle and use reusable bags. Let them know where they can find them or turn them on to recycling opportunities at their nearest grocery store.