What Do Your Recyclables Become?

Think about it, what happens to the plastic bags that do not end up in our forests, seas, and surroundings? Well, just like other modern day materials, they are recycled into a variety of products.

No doubt, the recycling rates currently are deplorable and need to improve significantly, especially considering the fact that there are recycling facilities available in most cities in the US.

However, we hope that through this eBook, not only will you be encouraged to reap the benefits of plastic bags by using them, but also play your all-important part in saving the environment by reusing and recycling them responsibly.

So, have you ever wondered what happens to the plastic bags you have recycled? In this section, you will learn about the products that are manufactured using plastics from your recycled bags.

New Bags

Whether you take them to a recycling center, drop them off at a bag recycling collection facility, or place them in a recycling bin, these plastic bags can have more than just one life. This is evident from the fact that most of the recycled bags today, are melted down and used for making new bags! Ironic, isn’t it?

As compared to making plastic bags from scratch, this process is a lot more efficient and gentler on the environment. It also saves massive amount of petroleum, which would have otherwise been used for producing new plastic bags.


Did you know that several crafters make amazing crafts out of plastic bags lying around at home? Yes, other than being reused for various applications, plastic bags are also being increasingly used in the crafts industry.

They are used for making yarn, tote bags, raincoats, headbands, and even whole outfits – amazing, right! Why don’t you use plastic bags for your next craft project? Who knows, you might just come up with some creative use.

Composite Lumber

According to statistics, a majority of the plastic bags recycled in the US wind up as composite lumber. It is a mix of wood scraps and plastic bags, such as old pallets and sawdust.

This lumber is durable, long-lasting, and requires little maintenance, making it ideal for outdoor and decking construction. Several top manufacturers are producing this type of lumber in the country, therefore further increasing the demand of recycled plastic bags.


The PBS NewsHour website states that a portion of recycled plastic bags, end up being utilized by the nanotechnology field. You may be thinking, “What use does an advanced field like nanotechnology have for plastic bags?” Well, turns out that scientists have developed a new method to produce carbon nanotube membranes by recycling plastic bags!

These membranes can potentially be used for biomedical innovations, and energy storage. More importantly, this is an effective solution to minimize environmental pollution created by manufacturing valuable goods.

Film & Sheeting

LDPE (Low-density polyethylene) is a common material used in the manufacturing of plastic bags. It is flexible, transparent, and has the ability to resist strong chemicals, such as bases and acids.

Due to its durability, toughness, and flexibility, LDPE from recycled plastic bags is used to make products like shipping envelopes, trash bags, film and sheeting, as well as several others that require these features.

As you can see, recycled plastic bags are used for making various products. Recycling plastic bags not only reduces the consumption of petroleum, but also pollution, waste, and energy.

Go through the sub-chapter (if you have not already) ‘The Benefits of Recycling Plastic Bag’ for more information regarding the benefits of recycling these bags we heavily rely on.

As we conclude this chapter, we hope you are now motivated and encouraged enough to play a responsible role in the use of plastic bags.