Plastic bag recycling and reduction.

The recycling bins in front of our stores aren’t the end for plastic bags—they’re just the beginning. Follow the recycling journey of plastic bags from our recycling bins to the recycler’s manufacturing facility.

When you put your recyclable plastic bags in the green bins outside your local Publix, you can count on us to make sure that bag finds its way to responsible recycling.

Plastic bag recycling bins

Plastic bags are not accepted through most local curbside recycling programs due to their flexible material. Soft plastics like single-use shopping bags and films can become “tanglers” and clog recycling machinery used to recycle plastic bottles, containers, and other heavier gauge plastics. Making sure plastic bags stay out of the usual plastic recycling stream ensures that other plastics get recycled properly and without any problems.

hand holding plastic pellets

That’s where we come in—when the bins in front of our stores are full, the contents are sent back on a Publix truck to the nearest Publix Return Center. Our return centers compact the materials into bales and load them onto a trailer. When full, the recycler picks up the trailer and transports it back to their manufacturing facility for processing. Our plastic recyclers turn these bags into plastic pellets and sell them to manufacturers who use them to make things like new plastic bags, composite decking, fencing, benches, and more.

picnic table made out of recycled materials

Doing more for the environment is as easy as bringing your plastic bags with you on your next grocery trip and letting Publix do the rest. Responsible plastic bag recycling is just another great way for us to do good together.

At Publix, we believe we can do good together by reducing the use of paper and plastic bags. Our initiatives include:

  • Instructing our front-service clerks on proper bagging techniques.
  • Encouraging annual single-use bag reduction targets for every store.
  • Encouraging customers to help make a difference for our environment by bringing reusable bags on shopping trips and opting for digital receipts.
Paper and plastic bags savedOver 9.4 billionAs of June 13, 2024, this is an estimated total of paper and plastic grocery bags saved since 2007 based on our improvements in proper bagging techniques and reusable bag usage.

We all play a part in helping take care of the earth. You might not realize it, but every time you purchase and choose to have your groceries bagged with a reusable bag, you’re joining us in showing this beautiful world a little love. Learn more about how we’re doing good together with our reusable bags.