Ways to repurpose your packaging from online ordering

With holiday shopping, there is an easy way to recycle plastics.
Plastics recycling bin at Food Lion in Harrisonburg
Plastics recycling bin at Food Lion in Harrisonburg(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 8:39 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Online shopping has already been common during the COVID-19 pandemic, but may be ramping up with holiday shopping days like “Black Friday” and “Small Business Saturday” coming up.

Zachary Taylor, Director of the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, gives some tips on how to repurpose the packaging you get with online orders. Taylor said some are aware of cardboard box recycling, but wants consumers to also know which plastics can be recycled.

“It’s not just bags that can be recycled here, it’s all kinds of plastic film from the air pillows that come in your shipping, other types of plastic wraps, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, bread bags, any sort of thin stretchy plastic film,” Taylor said.

You can bring these plastics to the recycling bins in front of some stores to be repurposed, in a takeback program that was started by the alliance years ago.

Taylor says these plastics can be remade into new bags, asphalt, and other products.

“All you got to do is break them down, and take them back with your plastic bags. And that’s a great way to reduce your footprint and improve sustainability because when those bags go back to the store, they don’t go in the landfill and they can be turned into new products,” Taylor said. He also recommends calling ahead if you aren’t sure they take the recyclables before getting to the store.

Taylor said make sure to look at the type of plastic and see if it has a number “2″ or “4″ inside the arrows or words such as “take bag to store.” Another good indicator that it is recyclable is if it’s a stretchy plastic.

Taylor said it is a good idea to be educated on recycling because it helps with environmental sustainability, and can be a very simple process.

“It’s very very convenient to keep your films and keep your bags from all of this online shopping, and bring it back with you next time you have to run to the grocery store,” Taylor said.

If you’re looking to get rid of cardboard boxes, Taylor recommends calling your local recycling authorities for the best way to recycle those.

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