Keep it Loose — Keep all plastic bags out of your recycling cart
Place your bottles, cans and paper loose in your recycling cart — do not use a plastic bag for your recyclables.
Why plastic bags don't belong in home recycling
Recycling centers are meant to sort milk jugs, cardboard boxes, metal cans and glass bottles — not plastic bags. Plastic bags and wrap are not recycled in your home recycling cart, and they can cause other recyclable materials to get thrown out as it contaminates quality recyclables.
Plastic bags that end up at a recycling facility tangle around sorting machines and need to be hand-cut from the equipment. It can a pose a serious safety risk for workers.
See how bags effect workers and machines sorting our recycling.
What you can do
- Keep all plastic bags and wrap out of your recycling cart — including bread bags, newspaper bags and wrap from around paper towels and toilet paper.
- Put all your recyclables loose in your cart. If you use a plastic bag to collect your recyclables, empty your bag into the recycling cart, then toss the bag into the trash. Or use a paper bag which can go in the cart with your bottles and paper.
- Bring clean and dry plastic bags and wrap to a drop-off location for proper recycling.
Plastic bag collections
Most plastic bags can be made into new products, but not if they are placed in your recycling or trash cart. Take your clean and dry plastic bags and wrap — no food, liquid or receipts — to a
drop-off site. Peel off or cut out paper labels from mailing envelopes and wrap.
- Cracker and cereal box liners (no paper or metallic liners)
- Dry cleaning bags
- Newspaper sleeves
- Plastic retail and grocery bags
- Plastic shipping envelopes, bubble wrap and air packets from shipping
- Water softener and sidewalk salt bags
- Wrap from household products like paper towels, toilet paper
- Zip-top food storage bags
Leave out compostable bags, salad mix and frozen food bags, candy wrappers, chip bags and beverage six-pack rings.
Host a plastic bag collection event
Host a temporary collection site or a one-day event at a school or in the community. Contact Dakota County at
email@example.com or 952-891-7043 to learn more.
Get resources for the Keep it Loose campaign on the Environmental Education webpage.