Materials usually are either “dry” and recyclable, or “wet” and compostable. We offer some general guidelines below.
Keep in mind that most materials have some immediate value — bottles and cans alone can yield a lot of cash for school programs and more. See CRV information for residents and schools.
If you want to know more about the issues involved with recycling various materials, consider visiting CalRecycle’s web site, which contains information on many materials.
It’s important to follow your town or county’s recycling rules, so be sure to check with your hauler to make sure you’re recycling right.
Plastic bags and plastic film wrap
Soft, flexible plastic film packaging such as grocery, bread, zip-top and dry cleaning bags or the wrap around such products as paper plates, napkins, and bathroom tissue CAN be recycled, but not in your curbside recycling program.
Plastic bags are rapidly becoming the widest-spread litter issue in America. Because of their composition and extremely light weight, plastic bags and film plastic require special handling. Most materials recovery facilities, or MRFs, aren’t equipped to handle them. When tossed in a trashcan, the bags frequently escape and are blown about by the smallest breeze. Occasionally, the bags are even blown out of trash disposal trucks.
In order to keep plastic bags from cluttering streets, clinging to the Joshua trees, and jamming up recycling equipment in the MRF, take them back to the grocery store for proper recycling by the manufacturers.
California supermarkets and large retailers with a pharmacy must accept plastic bags for recycling. You should readily find a recycling container in those stores. If you can’t find the container, ask a store employee.
If you can’t find a store that accept plastic bags, please call 1-888-URECYCLE or use the button below to find a nearby drop off location.
In November of 2016, California voters upheld the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags (Single-Use Carryout Bags SB 270), aligning state law with ordinances passed by a growing number of local governments in California to reduce plastic waste. For more information please visit CalRecycle’s Plastic Bag Page and their Frequently Asked Questions
As a result, most grocery stores, retail stores with a pharmacy, convenience stores, food marts, and liquor stores will no longer be able to provide single-use plastic carry-out bags to their customers. Instead, these stores may provide a reusable grocery bag or recycled paper bag to a customer at the point of sale at a charge of at least 10 cents.
The best place to start for information about your local curbside recycling service is to contact your hauler.
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