Are Ziploc Bags Recyclable?

Recyclable Ziploc Bags? Have you ever taken a minute to think about how many Ziploc bags you use in a year? The inexpensive plastic bags are ideal for keeping food fresh.

You use the bags to pack your lunch, hold snacks, and keep small items from getting lost. You can store almost anything that fits insider a Ziploc bag.

Considering how many plastic bags are used in a year, imagine how much plastic is going into a landfill. So, what do you do with old plastic bags?

Recyclable Ziploc Bags

Are Ziploc Bags Recyclable?

Ziploc bags are convenient household items, but can you recycle them? They do come with a thick seal. It’s what makes the bags so great, but does the thicker plastic interfere with recycling?

The answer is you can recycle Ziploc storage bags. The seal is comprised of recyclable plastic. Recycling facilities place Ziploc bags in the same category as film plastic.

It includes the thin plastic bags you use for fruits and vegetables. Plastic grocery and dry cleaning bags also fall into the same category.

If you have separate bins for paper, metal, and plastic, Ziploc bags go in the recycling bin designated for plastics.

Recyclable Ziploc Bags

What Plastic Bags Are Not Recyclable?

Recycling facilities cannot accept all types of plastic, and it includes some bags. Sturdy, unbendable Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is non-recyclable. The plastic is usually found in tubes and pipes and is rarely used for bags.

The plastic rings that hold six-packs of beer, soda, and other beverages are also not recyclable. It’s made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE).

Another non-recyclable plastic is Polystyrene PS). You usually find this plastic in food containers and cup holders.

Recyclable Ziploc Bags

Are Dirty Ziploc Bags Recyclable?

Thankfully, you do not need to wash your dirty Ziploc bags before recycling. The recycling facility doesn’t care if the plastic bag wash holding cookies, rubber bands, or tomato sauce.

You may run into an exception if the Ziploc bag is storing a liquid containing hazardous chemicals. The recycling facility may not accept these types of dirty Ziploc bags.

Hopefully, you are not using plastic bags for storing hazardous chemicals. These types of materials only belong in approved storage containers.

Recyclable Ziploc Bags

How Can You Tell if a Plastic Bag is Recyclable?

Most plastic bags are recyclable. You rarely need to double-check. If you are unsure, look for the small recycling symbol on the box or bags. If you see three arrows forming a triangle, you can recycle the plastic bags.

Something else to look for is a number between one and seven in the center of the triangle. The number refers to the type of plastic.

All recycling facilities accept number one and two types of plastics, so you won’t have a problem with your used Ziploc bags.

Other types of plastic bags may need to go to a specialized recycling facility. The recycling process is different for number three to seven plastics.

Recyclable Ziploc Bags

What Can You Do With Old Ziploc Bags?

Along with recycling old Ziploc bags, you can also continue reusing some. As long as the bag is clean, meaning it doesn’t have stuck-on food particles, you can keep using the same plastic bag.

It’s not a good idea to reuse Ziploc bags for food. You run the risk of germs and other containments. But you can use the plastic bags for ice packs repeatedly until it breaks.

Other ideas include using the bags for finger puppets. Snip off the top left corner, about one inch from the bag’s edge. Make a second hole on the same side. Sew the holes together, and create your finger puppet character using paint, bits of yarn, and other items.

Old Ziplock bags can also store small items like rubber bands, bobby pins, and barrettes. When the bag finally breaks, toss it in the recycling bin.



You can recycle Ziploc bags. Any plastic bag with a one or two rating can go in the recycling bin. Plastic bags with higher ratings may need to go to a specialized recycling center.

Before recycling your plastic bags, you can also reuse some of them. It’s a sustainable way to store items. It also means you are spending less replacing your Ziploc bags.

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