Paper Bags

Recycle Curbside

Recycle Bags With Handles

Paper bags can be recycled, even if they have handles attached with adhesive; adhesive does not contaminate paper recycling. If the handle is not made of paper, tear it off and then recycle the bag.

Soiled Bags Are Not Recyclable

Wet or soiled bags should be thrown away because food residue and grease contaminates recycling. If it’s possible to remove the soiled portion, do so and then recycle the parts that are clean.

Gift Bags Usually Not Recyclable

Sometimes gift bags can be recycled, but if they have a glossy coating, they are most likely made from plastic and paper and so cannot be recycled. More about reusing, reducing and recycling gift bags.

Ways to Reduce

Bring Your Reusable Bags

Skip the paper bags altogether and bring your own reusable bags, which reduces how much you need to throw away or recycle.

Ways to Reuse

Reuse Paper Bags

If your paper bag is still in good condition, try reusing them as many times as you can.

Line Your Trash Can

Instead of throwing your trash into a plastic bag, use a paper bag because they will actually break down in the landfill.

Use As Wrapping Paper

Paper bags can be cut up and used as wrapping paper for small gifts. Larger shopping bags can also be used as book covers.

Did You Know?

Paper Bags: Not as Eco-Friendly as They Seem

Plastic bags have their problems but so do paper bags. Although paper bags do degrade much faster than plastic bags, it takes nearly double the resources to create a paper bag than one made out of plastic. That’s why reusable products are better than paper or plastic bags.

What's the Difference Between "Biodegradable" and "Compostable"?

Biodegradable does not always mean compostable.
The Federal Trade Commission Green Guides has very specific labeling requirements for items that are marketed as “biodegradable” or “compostable,” as a means to avoid deception.
Just because something is labeled as “compostable,” does not mean that your local compost facility will process it.
In California, Senate Bill 567 prohibits labeling of any plastic or bioplastic product as biodegradable, oxo-degradable, oxo-biodegradable, or photodegradable.