NEW JERSEY -- Recycling contamination happens when items that don’t belong in your home’s recycling bin are placed there. Unfortunately, putting recyclable items in plastic bags is harmful.

Plastic shopping bags are recyclable, but NOT in your curbside recycling bin. When they get into the recycling system, the bags can clog up or damage recycling center processing equipment in the same way that hair clogs up the rollers of a vacuum. This slows down the recycling process and increases the cost of the recycling process.

How can you recycle those bags?

Sign Up for E-News

Many stores will accept plastic bags at in-store collection bins. Among them are: Home Depot, Lowe's,Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Target, Walmart, Wegmans, and Whole Foods are among them. Contact the store before making the trip to recycle plastic bags. Not every location participates. 

What happens to the bags?

Recycled plastic bags can become plastic lumber to make park benches, decks, fences or playground equipment. However, best of all, recycling plastic bags properly will keep them out of our environment.

If you’d like to cut back on using plastic bags, consider using reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping.