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Storefront: Recycling Process

What happens to my recycled plastic bags?

When you put your recyclable plastic bags in the green bins outside your local Publix, you can count on us to make sure that bag finds its way to responsible recycling.

Plastic bags are not accepted through most local curbside recycling programs due to their flexible material. Soft plastics like single-use shopping bags and films can become “tanglers” and clog recycling machinery used to recycle plastic bottles, containers, and other heavier gauge plastics. Making sure plastic bags stay out of the usual plastic recycling stream ensures that other plastics get recycled properly and without any problems.

That’s where we come in—when the bins in front of our stores are full, the contents are sent back on a Publix truck to the nearest Publix Return Center. Our return centers compact the materials into bales and load them onto a trailer. When full, the recycler picks up the trailer and transports it back to their manufacturing facility for processing. Our plastic recyclers turn these bags into plastic pellets and sell them to manufacturers who use them to make things like new plastic bags, composite decking, fencing, benches, and more.

Doing more for the environment is as easy as bringing your plastic bags with you on your next grocery trip and letting Publix do the rest. Responsible plastic bag recycling is just another great way for us to do good together.