Recycling Plastic Bags

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

ReusableBagGreenPhoto.jpgPlastic bags are everywhere. You receive them at the grocery store, for your carryout food, and at most other places you shop. Unfortunately because they are so light, they also can easily blow away and become litter along our roadways.

It's very easy to collect a lot of plastic bags quickly. To avoid this, consider taking reusable bags with you when you do your grocery or other shopping. By reducing the number of disposable products used, we can help reduce litter and keep these items out of Bowie's waste and water streams. This includes plastic bags from grocery stores, drug stores and other retail shops.

A Prince George's County Sierra Club survey completed in 2014 of Bowie residents found that only 8% of shoppers use reusable bags. Generally, reusable shopping bags are sturdy, easy-to-carry and available for a small fee at most retailers. Some retailers even provide a credit on your bill for each reusable bag filled. You just need to remember to take the reusable bags into the store each time you shop! You can also reuse the plastic bags you do receive around your house in various ways.

Disposing of Plastic Bags and other Plastic Films

plastic bag recycling cropped.jpgUntil 2015, the City of Bowie collected plastic bags and other plastic films with residential recycling. However because of a change at the facility where Bowie recycling is taken, we are no longer able to accept plastic bags or plastic films with recycling and in fact are now penalized when a recycling load contains these materials in it. Plastic bags and plastic films were causing problems for their processing equipment and blowing away and into the neighborhood near the facility.

Fortunately, we have found several places in Bowie where you can take your plastic bags and clean, dry plastic films to be recycled.

  • Best Buy
  • Giant
  • Home Depot
  • Kohl's
  • Lowe's
  • Macy's
  • Mom's Organic Market
  • Safeway
  • Target
  • Walmart
Some of these establishments also accept batteries, CFL light bulbs, and other items that should not be included with household trash.

Please visit for more information on recycling plastic bags and plastic films.