Plastic Bag Contamination

Be Bright Bags PDF

Plastic bags are the #1 source of recycling contamination. Bags wreak havoc on the automated equipment at Utah recycling facilities by wrapping around spinning parts. Every day, machinery has to be shut down and plastic bags cut away.


As recycling is sorted at our local materials recovery facility, plastic bags are removed from the recycling stream and sent to the landfill as trash. Plastic bag litter is so problematic that many landfills install large, curved “Jurassic Park” fences to catch airborne bags. Last year, Trans-Jordan landfill spent more than $40,000 on litter control.



Landfill litter control fence

Photo by Mark Hooyer – Bayview/NUERA

Here in Utah plastic bags are not accepted in curbside recycling. Do NOT bag recycling before bringing it out to the bin or place any types of plastic bags (grocery bags, sandwich bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, etc.) in your recycling. Even if it has a recycle symbol or claims to be recyclable, it is not accepted in curbside recycling. Visit for plastic bag drop of locations. Reusing is always better than recycling, so please remember to bring reusable bags to the store.


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