Many grocery stores and retailers have an area where plastic bags can be returned to be recycled. Plastic bags must not be placed in your curbside single-stream recycling bins.
Putting plastic bags in your curbside bin is bad for recycling workers, bad for recycling machinery, and bad for the environment. When plastic bags mixed in with Single Stream recycling get to the CMCMUA Recycling Facility, they typically end up in the landfill after having jammed up the sorting machinery and workers have spent hours untangling them.
The Recycling Process
A plastic bag is a thermoplastic, meaning it is capable of being repeatedly softened by heat and hardened by cooling.
- First, the plastic is melted down.
- The softened plastic is then pushed through an extruder. To visualize this, reflect back on the days when you owned a Play-Doh kitchen set and you made delicious plates of bright green spaghetti. Squeezing Play-Doh through the little machine to make it into noodles is similar to extruding.
- An extruder dye appropriately shapes the plastic before it is cut with a knife.
- The end result could be a large piece of composite lumber or thousands of little pellets, which can be used to make other plastic products.