Keep it Loose

Do not bag recyclables or include plastic bags/Film

Plastic bags and film have always been a challenge in the recycling world. They are very difficult to capture if loose and get stuck in equipment. Disappearing markets along with the high cost of labor to process them forced us to remove them from our recycling program in June 2019 (See full press release). As one of very few recycling companies who accepted plastic bags, we did not make this decision lightly.

We encourage you to reduce and reuse by bringing your own reusable bags the store and opting for paper instead of plastic. Without an easy recycling option, it is our hope that people will begin to realize the overall negative impact plastic bags have on the environment and will start to avoid them altogether.

Clean plastic bags and film can still be brought to participating grocery stores and other retailers with separated collection bin. Find drop off locations here.

At Millennium, we sincerely appreciate the support of the community and the avid recyclers who are trying to do the right thing. As a small, private business, we are always looking for ways to streamline our process to ensure we can provide cost-effective recycling services while supporting our ultimate goal of diverting materials from the landfill.

The PROBLEM With Plastic Bags In The Bin

Plastic bags must be pulled out by hand, making them very labor intensive and difficult to capture.

If not pulled out, plastic bags wrap around recycling equipment and quickly jam up processing screens.

When too many bags get stuck, we have to shut down the equipment and manually cut them out.

Plastic bags easily escape bins, trucks and landfills, littering our land and waterways.

Plastic Bag FAQs

Why Were Bags Removed?
In 2019, we stopped accepting plastic bags in our recycling program due to changes in the recycling market. Companies that turn recycled materials into new products no longer take bags from mixed recycling programs. This left us with loads of plastic bags and nowhere to send them. To avoid the time, effort, and costs of dealing with bags that would end up in the landfill, we made the decision to stop accepting them in our recycling program.
What Is "Plastic Film"?
“Plastic film” refers to various plastic materials like bags, wrap, and film. This category includes items such as bread bags, grocery bags, trash bags, bubble wrap, air pillows, saran wrap, case wrap, and more.
What's The Issue With Bags?

Plastic bags pose sorting challenges and cause equipment issues if not promptly removed. With no recycling option, we invest more effort in sorting, storing, and sending them to the landfill. This increases landfill waste, raises trash fees, and incurs contamination fees for haulers, making the process less efficient. Even after the 2019 ban on bags, equipment stress persists due to missed loose film and bags wrapping around the system, requiring additional time and maintenance.

How Was This A Responsible Decision?
Making tough decisions about the materials we accept is an integral part of our business. It’s a rare occurrence to remove an item from our list, and in fact, bags are the first material in years to be removed.

The items we collect are solely based on market need and the ability to move materials to our end-users. When we initially decided to accept bags, we were among the very few in the entire country making the extra effort to include them in mixed recycling. We strongly believed that if they could be recycled, we wanted to make it easy for people to recycle them.

However, when there is no market need for an item we collect, our only options are to store it or send it to the landfill. Unfortunately, the market need for bags has significantly dropped in recent years, and we don’t anticipate a rebound.

Our capacity to store bags is full, and with the ongoing influx, we still have to send loads of bags to the landfill. To reduce the amount going to the landfill (and support your waste hauler and private recyclers), public understanding and participation are crucial.

What About Shredded Paper In Bags?

Shredded paper is the ONLY exception to our no plastic bags rule. You can still use plastic bags for shredded paper; just tie them tightly in a clear bag to help us collect it all.

We will carefully pull out the plastic bags, open them to sort the shredded paper, and then dispose of the bags appropriately. For more information on what you can include in the bin, refer to each category here.

Is This For All Waste Haulers?

The No Bags rule applies to all waste haulers who deliver recycling to Millennium. Find a list here to see if this includes your hauler.

If your hauler is not on the list or has communicated something different, please check with them how they prefer recyclables. Some rural and smaller waste haulers still want material bagged so they can transport it between trucks.

If any bags or bagged material is delivered to Millennium, it is treated as a contaminant and fees may apply to cover the cost of labor, handling, transportation, and disposal.

What Can You Do?

If you haven’t already, stop putting plastic bags, wrap and film in your recycling bin.

Bring your plastic bag or film waste to drop-off locations who can still accept them and reduce the amount of bags you’re using by avoiding products with excessive film packaging and/or bringing your own bag to the store (#byob).

Spread the word with your friends and family that bags are no longer allowed in the recycling bin!

Plastic Bag FACTS
  • Plastic bags kill 100,000 marine animals every year
  • The average plastic bag is used for just 12 minutes
  • Nearly 2 million plastic bags are used every minute
  • Plastic bags take up to 1000 years to disintegrate