Recycling Carrier Bags

You' ve got to carry that weight

Can I recycle carrier bags?

Carrier bags are rarely collected as part of local authority kerbside collections, most local recycling centres won’t accept them either.

Some supermarkets now offer instore recycling banks for carrier bags or the option to hand the bags back to the driver if your shopping is delivered to your home.

The most important thing to remeber s reduce the amount you use, see Reducing Your Rubbish for more info.

How do I recycle them?

Some supermarkets have put up recycling banks specifically for plastic bags.

  • Sainsburys - with the exception of the small Locals stores, recycling banks can be found at all Sainsbury's stores.
  • Tesco - Have instore collection points in some stores
  • Somerfield - Have collection points in a number of stores

What else can I do with them?

Bags for life

Most supermarkets have ‘bag for life’ schemes. You buy one large, durable carrier bag for 10p which should last at least 10 trips. When it wears out the cashier will replace it free of charge and the old one will be recycled by the supermarket.

Avoid them!

Better still, take a canvas or string bag with you when you go shopping – they're much stronger than carrier bags and won't dig into your hands!

What are carrier bags made from?

Although carrier bags today use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago, most are still made from polyethylene, a kind of plastic which is non-degradable. This kind of plastic takes a long time to break down, possibly up to hundreds of years.

  • Keep hold of your plastic bags and use them again next time you go shopping
  • See if your local charity shops needs them for re-using
  • Use them as a bike seat cover on rainy days

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  1. Lydia Bryant (Bracknell)

    One way to recycle old plastic bags is to knit with them. Lay them flat on a surface, cut off the bottom and the handles and then cut the remaining body into 1 inch strips. Join the strips together to create "yarn". You can then use this to knit a new bag, far larger and stronger than the original and much better wearing. You will need about 60 bags to make one new one.