ISHPEMING - You're at the grocery store picking up some ingredients for dinner. Chances are even if you opt for paper bags at the checkout line, you'll still come away with a number of plastic bags, such as the smaller produce bags or those used to package bread.
Instead of ending up in the trash, those seemingly-useless plastic bags can be recycled.
With many grocery stores and shopping centers offering drop boxes for plastic grocery bags, consumers may not realize that more can be dropped off than just the plastic bag you get at the checkout lane.
According to The American Chemistry Council, which operates www.plasticbagrecycling.org, those drop-off locations may also accept plastic dry cleaning bags, produce bags, plastic wrap from toilet paper and paper towel packaging, wrap from electronics or furniture, plastic food storage bags, plastic cereal box liners, Tyvek free of glue and labels and case wrap from snack or water bottles.
Plastics marked No. 2 or No. 4 are also generally accepted.
Plastics must be clean and dry. Cling wrap, prepackaged food bags (such as prewashed salad bags), bags with paint or glue on them and compostable bags are not accepted.
The recently opened Shopko Hometown store in Ishpeming provides a drop off box for the recyclable plastic bags in the front of the store.
"We rolled it out company-wide six months ago," store manager Matt Hoks said. "It's been pretty successful."
Although use of the drop off bins at the Ishpeming store hasn't picked up yet, Hoks said he suspected that was due to the store being a new business and awareness of the program not being widespread.
Once the bags are dropped off at participating stores, Hoks said they are baled up and sent to a recycling center where they are made into new products.
Before dropping bags off, the American Chemistry Council advises checking with the particular drop off center to see what is accepted.
For more information, go to www.plasticbagrecycling.org.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.