In line with the ARPBA Sustainability Commitment, we support policies to establish minimum recycled content requirements for carryout bags.
ARPBA members-- America’s manufacturers and recyclers of plastic carryout bags-- are ahead of schedule on their commitment to increasing the amount of recycled content in the products they manufacture here, from 10% today to 15% in 2023 and 20% in 2025. An important component of meeting these aggressive targets includes increasing recycling rates for plastic carryout bags and other plastic films consumers rely on every day.
Right now, American manufacturers are experiencing some challenges in sourcing sufficient volumes of recycled content for their manufacturing operations, whether it be for bags or other materials. ARPBA supports efforts to increase consumer education around recycling and supports increased investment in infrastructure and technology that can process plastic bags and film. For decades, ARPBA members have worked with their retail partners to support the store takeback program and continue to invest in efforts to monitor, highlight, and expand this important pathway.
Claims that plastic bags cannot or are not recycled are inaccurate and depress recycling rates by confusing consumers. Research from the Association of Plastics Recyclers found that in 2021, more than 264 million pounds of bags and film were returned through the store drop-off program, a 7.9% increase from the year prior. Impressively, nearly 90% of this material was reclaimed by U.S. and Canadian processors to be turned into recycled PE, which bag manufacturers and others purchase to incorporate into their products.
ARPBA believes that all stakeholders should collaborate on solutions that promote recycling and help support the adoption of technology and infrastructure that makes recycling more convenient and accessible for consumers. Policies that establish minimum recycled content requirements, provided they do not exceed technical and material limitations of the manufacturing process, are an important component of sustainability. To learn more about film recycling locations in your area, visit our page on recycling.