How do you know whether something qualifies as a soft plastic? Wild Minimalist (@wildminimalist), who has more than 140,000 followers on Instagram, said it’s as easy as trying to stretch the material with your thumb.
This includes shopping bags, bread and tortilla bags, zip-top sandwich bags, and items with a “How2Recycle” emblem like Amazon envelopes.
According to the post, just ensure the material is clean and dry — e.g., no bread crumbs or mayonnaise residue — and remove paper shipping labels before finding a local recycling drop-off. PlasticFilmRecycling.org (rebranded to PlasticMakers.org) has resources to assist your search.
“Sadly, most curbside recycling programs don’t accept soft plastics,” Wild Minimalist cautioned.
How it’s helping
This time-saving hack to identify recyclable plastics could be huge.
According to a survey from the World Economic Forum, SAP, and Qualtrics, even though more than 75% of people worldwide think recycling is important, a lack of knowledge on how to participate in programs is a common barrier preventing them from doing so.
Meanwhile, Dusan Losic — a professor at the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering — said in 2013 that researchers have been developing ways to recycle plastic bags into “high-added value products,” as reported by ScienceDirect.
What everyone’s saying
A number of commenters were thrilled with the tips from the Instagram post, while others passed along their favorite recycling locations.
“This is super helpful!!” one person wrote.
“Yayy love doing this at my local grocery store!” another said.
“Major stores like Target and Walmart often offer drop off sites! Always a good excuse for me to take a lap around Target,” wrote another.
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