How to Recycle Plastic Bags in San Francisco

San Francisco passed an ordinance that included a ban on single-use plastic bags at checkout counters, and many other cities and the State of California are following our City’s lead.

Still, plastic bags and film plastic come into our lives. So, Recology and the City have instituted a recycling program enhancement to address this.

You can now recycle plastic bags and other clean, dry film or flimsy plastic, such as plastic wrap, in San Francisco. Just follow three simple steps:

  1. Put clean and dry plastic bags and plastic wrap inside a plastic bag. Please do not throw loose plastic bags or plastic wrap into your recycling bin.
  2. When the plastic bag is filled to about the size of a soccer ball, tie the top of the bag in a knot.
  3. Put your bag of bags in your recycling bin.

When your bag of plastic bags reaches the initial sort deck at Recycle Central, the sorting facility on San Francisco’s Pier 96, workers will pull your bag of bags off the line so it can be recycled.

If possible, use an exterior bag that is clear. That allows recycling workers to see what is inside.

Ensure your plastic bags and all film plastic in your bundle are clean and dry. This is important because it is a requirement imposed by the recycling markets that receive plastic bags.

It is important that your bag of bags be no larger than a soccer ball because larger bundles won’t fit through the system. Please do not put loose plastic bags in recycling; they wrap around sorting equipment at Recycle Central.

Please bring a tote bag when shopping and decline plastic bags whenever you can. When you receive plastic bags, please use the easy steps noted above to ensure they get recycled.