All bagged up 

Where do broken bags go?

  • Wikimedia Commons by GorillaSushi

Renee, I have some reusable grocery bags that are, unfortunately, on their last leg. I have two kinds:

1. A bag made from recycled plastic that Citizens Energy Group had a few years ago.
2. A reusable bag that's made of a thinner cloth-like material.

Do you know where I can recycle these?



First, let me give you props for your use of reusable grocery bags. Did you know that the average lifespan of a reusable bag is equal to more than 700 disposable plastic bags? That means that one person using reusable bags over their lifetime (making a few assumptions about when they start and stop shopping independently) would remove more than 22,000 plastic bags from the environment!

The trick with recycling reusable bags is that they are comprised of various materials, some recyclable and some not. For instance, a bag made from recycled plastic likely has other materials mixed in, including thread and other polymers, so it would be incompatible with recycling equipment. A cotton bag would have to be recycled with textiles and I don’t have a good resource for you for that.
So, for now, retire your defunct reusable shopping bags in the trash, knowing that they have each kept approximately 700 bags out of the landfill or incinerator. And replace them with a goal of making a much larger impact in your lifetime!

Starting on July 1, Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market will Kick the Plastic Habit []. Vendors will no longer supply plastic shopping bags to customers, so grab your new favorite reusable bags, Clarissa, and fill them up with fresh, local goodies from BRFM!

Piece out,

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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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