Plastic wrap and film packaging are generally made using #2 and #4 plastic, both of which are recyclable. Plastic film is typically downcycled to make composite lumber, but it can become a wide variety of products. Unless your local recycling service tells you otherwise, plastic wrap and film must be taken to a drop-off location for recycling.
Frequent Plastic Wrap & Film Recycling Questions
What does “plastic resin code” mean?
Plastic materials are usually marked with a number that indicates the type of plastic it is made from. Consumers can then use this information to determine whether or not certain plastic types are collected for recycling in their area. Look for a number within a triangle on your plastic item to determine the code, but be aware that just because it has a symbol, that doesn’t mean it is collected for recycling. Learn more about the numbers behind plastics.
Which wraps and film can be recycled and which can’t?
Please DO recycle:
- Grocery and retail bags
- Newspaper bags
- The outer wrapping from napkins, paper towels, bathroom tissue, and diapers
- Bread bags
- Dry cleaning bags
- The outer wrapping from bulk beverages
- Produce bags
- All clean, dry bags labeled #2 or #4
Please DO NOT recycle:
- Food or cling wrap
- Prepackaged food bags (including frozen food bags and pre-washed salad bags)
- Plastic film that has been painted or has excessive glue residue
What is the difference between plastic wrap and film and a plastic bag?
While both are recyclable, a plastic bag is associated with groceries and retail shopping, while plastic wrap and film cover a wider spectrum of the same recyclable materials including everything from your dry cleaning bags and the cover on your new mattress to the bag your newspaper gets delivered in or the bag around your bread.
Any of these items should be recycled as long as they are clean and dry.
Will my grocery store take back plastic wrap and film for recycling?
Most grocers and large retailers such as Target and Walmart now accept plastic bags, wrap and film for recycling. Look for a bin near the front of the store or jump to the recycling locator to find a plastic film recycling location near you.
Does it matter if the plastic wrap or film is wet or food-soiled?
It does. Wet or food-soiled plastic wrap and film should not be recycled as it can cause costly contamination during the recycling process. Be sure to clean the plastic and let it dry before you drop your plastic wrap and film off for recycling.
Enter your ZIP code in the recycling locator below to find a plastic film recycling location near you.