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Next time you head to the supermarket, you may be asked to provide your own bag, or to re-use old bags.

The drive to reduce waste and operate with the environment in mind has reached Arizona retailers. Many Arizona brands are making the commitment to reducing waste by phasing out plastic bags. Learn how plastic bags are harmful to the environment, and what the impact is throughout the Phoenix metro area.

How plastic bags affect the environment

At a glance, plastic bags may seem like any other piece of plastic – convenient and easy enough to toss into the recycle bin. However, plastic bags are created with non-renewable resources. They’re a drain on energy, on resources and on recycling efforts.

Throughout the world, we’ve become dependent on plastic – plastic bags, plastic takeout containers, plastic straws, the list goes on. According to one report, 60,000 plastic bags are consumed in the U.S. every five seconds. Most of these plastic bags – and most of these other plastic items – wind up in landfills, yet they do not break down over time. Instead, they let off toxic chemicals.

The challenges don’t end there. Plastic bags wind up clogging local drainage systems. They end up in our oceans. And, the build of waste, and associated toxic chemicals, put humans and animals around the world in serious danger as they seep into our water and food supplies. Plastic bags aren’t a problem – they’re an epidemic.

Can plastic bags be recycled?

Yes and no. They’re extremely difficult to recycle. And from a re-use perspective, many of the originating industries have no use for plastic bags to come back to them. So, they’re mass produced but built for single-use. If recycling, plastic bags CANNOT  be placed in our regular residential-curb bins. Look for containers at your local grocery store.

What is Arizona doing about plastic bags?

Good news: Kroger has made the commitment to eliminate single-use plastic bags by 2025. This affects popular Arizona stores such as Fry’s. All stores – in all 2,800 locations across the U.S. – will move to reusable bags.

The less plastic flowing through our landfills, the better. Other brands, such as Disney, Starbucks, and McDonald’s, have made the move to transition to more sustainable materials in their businesses. In other markets around the world, removing plastic bags from supermarkets like Fry’s has shown to greatly reduce use. Anti-bag regulation is on the rise, and we’ll be watching as brands like Kroger take the lead in Arizona and beyond.

Contact us at Recycle 1 to find out how we can assist you with your business recycling needs.