There are a few ways to recycle paper shopping bags. One way is to donate them to your local food bank. These bags can be reused for multiple meals or used in craft projects. You could also donate them to a local recycling center. In fact, some towns even have their own municipal recycling centers. If you’re in New Jersey, Walmart has its own blue bag program. Similarly, the Food Bank of South Jersey accepts reusable shopping bags. Several of the state’s other big box retailers also offer a similar service. Regardless of where you live, a reusable bag is the best way to go.
In New Jersey, the most significant and relevant measure is the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The law, which goes into effect on November 4, allows stores to use a variety of recyclable options, including those made from plastic and paper. Most supermarkets have adopted a version of this policy and have slashed the amount of plastic packaging they use. However, the state is likely to take a harder line than other jurisdictions. This is because some shoppers are overstocking with reusable bags and are looking for environmentally friendly alternatives.
To get around the ban, some retailers have adopted a more streamlined system. For example, Wal-Mart offers a bin in every store in which customers can drop off their blue bags. Many communities also have municipal recycling centers, which handle recyclables outside of curbside collection. But there’s one notable omission: Paper bags.
Fortunately, a new Community FoodBank of New Jersey program has been announced that will help make the recycling of reusable shopping bags a reality. The program, which is in partnership with Stop & Shop and the New Jersey Food Council, will connect individuals to nonprofits in their area. They will be able to learn about the program and help spread the word. Some of these organizations have locations in Gloucester and Camden, while others operate in more remote locales like Monmouth and Ocean counties.
The name of the game is to find the appropriate reusable bag donation program. There’s a website with details on all of the major bags, and you can also contact your favorite grocery or department store to ask for the scoop on their own policy. While you’re there, you might want to pick up a free reusable shopping bag or two. Reusable bags last much longer than disposable ones, and you can bring them back to the store for the next time you shop.
One thing is for sure: if you’re still using those ubiquitous plastic bags, you’re wasting your money and harming the environment. So while you’re at the store, take a look at the other eco-friendly options. It might be the best way to avoid paying for a new tote and avoiding a trip to the landfill. Also, it’s one more reason to visit your favorite neighborhood grocery or department store.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey has also launched a new website that will help you figure out where to donate the best paper shopping bags.