MAY 2012

Study shows most Americans can recycle plastic bags and wraps locally

A new study provides encouraging news about the state of plastics recycling in the U.S. More than 91 percent of the U.S. population can recycle their plastic bags locally, and additionally, nearly 75 percent of people living in the U.S. can recycle other types of flexible plastic wraps in their own communities.

The study, which looked at flexible polyethylene film – a category that includes flexible plastic bags, sacks and many product wraps – identified over 15,000 drop-off locations that collect these items for recycling. The majority of collection centers are conveniently located in stores, frequently major grocery chains or retailers like Target and Lowe’s home improvement stores.

“Plastic Film and Bag Recycling Collection: National Reach Study,” conducted by Moore Recycling Associates Inc., is believed to be the first study to examine consumers’ access to recycle flexible plastic packaging.

The National Reach Study also found that despite the prevalence of access to flexible plastic recycling programs, consumers are not yet using this infrastructure to its full potential.

The flexible plastics value chain recently came together to form the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), which is applying industry resources to boost consumer education.

To help increase awareness, the FFRG is working with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to develop a Store Drop-off label specifically for flexible plastic packaging.