Ziploc bags hurt the environment because they are made out of plastic, and because they encourage consumers to use them once and then throw them away (which means lots more plastic being made). Plastic cannot be recycled, and so it sits inside landfills for centuries without degrading. Also, chemicals used in the manufacturing of plastic linger in the finished plastic product (in this case the ziploc bags), which eventually causes the chemicals to leak into the environment. Likewise, 4% of the world’s oil goes into the manufacturing of plastic (which includes plastic bags), so it’s not green in its use of energy, either.
In an effort to reduce their environmental impact, Ziploc partnered with RecycleBank to implement a recycling program that rewards its customers for recycling Ziploc bags instead of throwing them away. Consumers are now able to go to any store that has a plastic bag recycling program and recycle Ziploc bags as long as they are clean and dry. The program, in addition to encouraging consumers to reduce, reuse, and recycle, also hopes to divert more than 100 million pounds of waste from landfills over the next few years.
If possible, it’s better to use metal lunch boxes or glass containers rather than plastic to store leftovers or take foods to work or school for lunches. But if you must ziploc bags, then it is best to recycle them rather than throwing them away. If they are clean and dry, you can even recycle them yourselves and use them for holding small items, if you cannot use them, then working with the plastic bag recycle program is your next best option.
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