What to do with
Some councils are beginning to collect carrier bags as part of household recycling schemes; however this is not wide-spread at the moment, so check with your local council first.
Many larger supermarkets accept your carrier bags as well as other plastic films. Collection points for used carrier bags are normally found near the main entrance.
We can all make positive choices to help the environment in the way that we shop. Everyone who cuts back on the number of bags they use makes a contribution to saving resources and reducing waste.
- Look for suitable re-usable bags and make sure that they are 'fit for purpose' – strong, durable and ideally made from recycled material
- Keep a small foldaway bag with you for those unexpected or impulse purchases
- Reduce the amount of carrier bags you use by re-using them as many times as possible
- Re-use bags and place the worn-out plastic bags in supermarket recycling points, as they are collected specifically for specialist plastic film recycling away from other waste streams
- If you shop online and receive a supermarket delivery, give the bags back to the driver afterwards or when you make your next online purchase
Where can I recycle them?
Some councils are beginning to collect carrier bags as part of household recycling schemes; however this is not wide-spread service at the moment. Before putting them in your recycling bin, ask your local council if they are accepted in your area.
The majority of larger UK supermarkets now offer recycling facilities for carrier bags and some other plastic films that contain the label with the message ‘recycle with carrier bags at larger stores – not at kerbside’. The following supermarkets offer collection points at larger stores:
- The Co-operative
Why not check out your local supermarket the next time you visit? The collection points are normally located by the main entrance doors.
What are carrier bags made from?
While plastic carrier bags use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago, they are still made from polyethylene (PE) which is derived from non-renewable oil and requires energy to manufacture.
Plastic bags are recyclable and are increasingly being recycled, but the majority still end up in landfill where they may take hundreds of years to break down.
You can find more detailed information about carrier bags on the WRAP website.