Plastic bag recycling is locally available to more than 91 percent of the U.S. population, according to a new study.
Also, nearly 75 percent of U.S. residents can recycle other types of flexible plastic wraps in their communities, according to "Plastic Film and Bag Recycling Collection: National Reach Study," compiled by Sonoma, Calif.-based Moore Recycling Associates Inc.
The study looks at flexible polyethylene film, which includes flexible plastic bags, sacks and many product wraps, according to a news release. It identifies more than 15,000 drop-off locations that collect those materials for recycling. The majority of collection centers are located in stores, often major grocery chains or retailers like Target and Lowe's home improvement stores.
The report also determined that despite the prevalence of access to flexible plastic recycling programs, consumers aren’t using the infrastructure to its full potential.
"Plastic bags and wraps are a valuable resource that should be recycled after use," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. "We're thrilled that so many Americans have access to recycling, and we look forward to working to increase consumer awareness, so we can recycle even more of this material."
Toward that end, the flexible plastics value chain recently formed the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), which aims to use industry resources to boost consumer education; labeling of bags, films and wraps with recycling information; and infrastructure expansion.