|While some items are clearly destined for the recycling bin, others are more ambiguous.|
Verdict: Recycle them -- but don't put it in the bin.
Perhaps inspired by visions of plastic bags clogging up landfill and suffocating wildlife, some people are inclined to put their plastic bags in the recycling bin. Others will use it as a container for recyclables such as bottles, assuming it's all one big recyclable plastic family. But that's not the case, says Jennifer Berry, a spokeswoman for Earth911.com, a directory of recycling information. She says plastic bags are almost never accepted in municipal recycling programs, and that their presence can even cause a temporary shutdown at the processing center. That doesn't mean you have to put them in the trash, though. Many grocery stores have programs in place for taking back old grocery bags. And Earth911 lets you search for businesses in your area that take back certain types of plastic bags for recycling -- just check the number on the bag to see whether it's acceptable for recycling.