Can You Recycle Ziploc Bags? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Ziploc bags are a staple in almost every family home. From sandwiches to paper clips, these containers made out of plastic sit inside drawers and cabinets across the world. 

This usage raises an excellent question – are Ziploc bags recyclable, or are they doomed to sit inside landfills around the world forever? Continue reading to find out this answer!

Can You Recycle Ziploc Bags?

Ziploc bags are recyclable, but they cannot be placed in the same bin as other plastics. You must go about a specific manner when disposing of these bags so that they can be broken down properly. Furthermore, you can do this by thoroughly cleaning and drying them after use and taking them to a plastic-only bin.

Keep on reading to learn more about recycling Ziploc bags and where you can dispose of them.

How Do I Recycle Ziploc Bags?

Recycling Ziploc bags cannot be done traditionally, but that doesn’t mean it is a tricky process. 

Furthermore, there are a few simple things that you should do to put them in their proper recycling location. 

Therefore, when recycling Ziploc bags, you should:

  • Wash out and clean the bags
  • Bring them to a local recycling center
  • Locate the correct plastic bin for the Ziploc bags

By following these steps, you will be able to responsibly dispose of your plastic bags.

We will discuss this process a little later on. That way, you can have a better grasp of the steps you need to take.

Are Ziploc Bags Biodegradable?

Although they are recyclable, Ziploc bags are not biodegradable. 

There is a version that dissolves in the ground, however, the main components of these bags will not dissolve when buried.

They are not biodegradable because:

  • They are made of plastic
  • They are durable

For these reasons, you cannot let them break down on the earth.

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This issue means that the more bags that end up in the environment, the more trash will be there for a long time. 

So, recycling is critical to keep unnecessary plastic out of landfills. Furthermore, by recycling, we can defend our environment for as long as possible.

How Can I Dispose Of My Ziploc Bags?

If you want to dispose of Ziploc bags, there are a few measures that you can take to do so. 

Following these will ensure that these thin plastics are taken care of and not dumped into a landfill along with all of the other unrecyclable materials.

If you want to dispose of Ziploc bags, you should first:

  • Gather all of the Ziploc bag plastics in one place
  • Thoroughly clean each bag and dry it
  • Combine all of your bags in a bag that has been used and is of similar material
  • Take them to your nearest recycling center

Doing all of these will permit a simple and easy recycling experience.

Furthermore, cleaning the bags allows them to be broken up easier. It is okay if they are not perfect, but you should wash them off the best that you can.

Additionally, try to gather as many bags as you can before taking them in. This way, you can avoid using excess gas and minimize your trips for recycling.

Where Can I Dispose Of My Ziploc Bags?

Where Can I Dispose Of My Ziploc Bags?

Now that you know how to throw away Ziploc bags, you might wonder where this can be done. 

Several locations offer places to dispose of this simple plastic, likely right near where you live.

Some of the most common include:

  • Grocery stores, which often have bins right outside their front doors
  • Retail stores, such as clothing stores or toy stores
  • Pop-up recycling locations, often in parking lots
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All of these stores and more will take Ziploc bags for recycling. 

If these places do not have a way to recycle Ziploc bags, you might need to try a few stops before landing on one that works as It needs to be a precise recycling bin.

If all else fails, there are items online that will help you find a recycling location near you.

What Plastics Are Ziploc Bags Made Of?

Ziploc bags are made of a plastic known as polyethylene. This item is a low-density form of plastic that can be shaped and molded as needed while staying flexible.

Polyethylene is also in products such as:

All of these items are filled with this material. Some are stronger than others, which affects their ability to be recycled.

Polyethylene is not biodegradable, although, it is recyclable. However, this does not mean that it is good for the environment. 

Keep on reading to learn how you can reuse plastic bags made from this material.

How Do I Reuse And Upcycle Ziploc Bags?

The best thing that you can do is reuse and upcycle these materials by trying to get as much out of them as you possibly can before you put them out into the world.

You do not just have to reuse them for storage purposes. There are a million different ways that Ziploc bags can discover new life where you live.

Some ways that you can upcycle Ziploc bags include:

  • Storing jewelry and other items on trips
  • Crushing crumbs for use in a recipe
  • Putting your book inside for taking a bath
  • Holding toiletries when traveling on a plane

These are just a few of the ways that you can reuse Ziploc bags rather than tossing them out. 

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However, there are a ton of other uses for Ziploc bags and you can get creative, discovering what will work best for you. 

Are Ziploc Bags Bad For The Environment?

Though Ziploc bags can be reused to a certain degree, they tend to be detrimental to the environment. 

Furthermore, they are not biodegradable, and most families do not make the extra effort to recycle them.

Additionally, when Ziploc bags end up in nature, they can:

  • Injure animals that might accidentally ingest them
  • Destroy the nutrients in the soil that serves as the basis for life
  • Starve animals that break up dead things and provide food for plants

If you can, you should avoid buying them, however, if you cannot, try to reuse the bags as many times as you can before throwing them away. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle asthma inhalers, whether you can recycle yogurt cups and lids, and whether you can recycle wine, beer, champagne, and soda glass bottles.


Ziploc bags can be recycled, but there is a specific way that needs to happen. This way, you can ensure that the bags are properly disposed of in a bin and that they won’t be detrimental to the environment.

If possible, you should attempt to upcycle your Ziploc bags. This action will give them new life and prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Additionally, upcycling is an innovative way to save the earth that anyone can do.


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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