House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Ziploc Bags Recyclable? How Do You Properly Dispose of Them?

Small transparent ziploc plastic bag

It’s hard to beat the convenience of a Ziploc bag. They’re small, easy to use, and they’re extremely effective at storing and sealing things. But while they do a great job, that doesn’t mean they’re great for the environment.

While it’s technically possible to recycle a Ziploc bag, it’s still a single-use plastic, and you can’t just throw your old Ziploc bags in the recycling with everything else. If you want to recycle them, it takes a bit more work, and we’ll highlight everything you need to know here.

divider 4

Are Ziploc Bags Recyclable?

woman recycling plastic bottles
Image Credit: aslysun, Shutterstock

The short answer to this question is yes, you can recycle Ziploc bags. However, the longer answer is a bit more complicated. First, to recycle Ziploc bags they need to be clean and dry, but that’s the easy part.

The problem is that Ziploc bags use a plastic film—it’s the same thing that makes plastic grocery bags so difficult to recycle. Because of this, you can’t just put Ziploc bags in the regular recycling. Instead, you need to drop them off at a special location for plastics with a plastic film.

Many grocery stores offer receptacles for this. If you have a grocery store near you that collects plastic grocery bags for recycling, you should be able to drop off clean and dry Ziploc bags there, too.

Other Ways to Dispose of Ziploc Bags

Small transparent plastic bag with zip clasp
Image Credit: Dzhamilia, Shutterstock

Unfortunately, if you cannot clean out and drop off Ziploc bags at a local retailer, there’s not much you can do besides throw them in the trash. Most recycling facilities can’t handle plastic films, which is exactly what Ziploc bags use.

You can’t just mix them in with regular recyclables, making it much harder to dispose of them properly. Look for a participating retailer, but if you can’t find one, you’ll need to throw them in the regular trash.

Ziploc Bag Alternatives

Whether you’re looking to reduce the amount of plastic you use, even if you are recycling it, or you can’t recycle Ziploc bags in your area, you have a few options to help reduce the amount of waste you produce.

Sandwich Boxes, Tupperware, Etc.

If you don’t need to use a Ziploc bag in the first place then you shouldn’t! Reusable containers like sandwich boxes and Tupperware last a long time, saving you money in the long run. Not only do reusable containers like these save you money, but since you’re not using single-use plastic, it’s better for the environment.

There are tons of different options like this out there, and what option works best for you all comes down to what you’re trying to store!

Silicone Sandwich Bags

Silicone bags are one of the most popular types of reusable bags. Silicone bags are extremely durable and last a long time. Additionally, most recycling facilities will accept silicone, allowing you to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.

Finally, many companies that produce reusable silicone bags will even accept your old ones, so they can recycle them and turn them into new bags again.

Reusable Plastic

While reusable plastic bags aren’t the most environmentally friendly option out there, they tend to be a little better than single-use Ziploc bags. While you can reuse Ziploc bags, they don’t last nearly as long as the reusable options.

And since reusable plastic bags use an entirely different type of plastic, you might be able to recycle it easier. It all comes down to the specific product you choose, so go ahead and look at the labeling.

divider 4

Final Thoughts

The next time you head to the grocery store, take a look around the front of the store and see if you can’t find a container for dropping off plastic bags. Many grocery stores have them now, even if you never noticed them before.

If they do, this is where you should drop off old Ziploc bags to recycle them. While it might take a little more work, it’s a great act for the environment!

Featured Image Credit: Dzhamilia, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools