Why can't I recycle my plastic bags in the blue barrel?

Plastic bags are not acceptable in the blue barrel for the following reasons:
  • Collected material from the blue barrel is taken to an independent recycling facility where it is sorted by commodity (i.e.- aluminum, paper, glass, plastic, etc.)  Plastic bags can clog the machinery and therefore interfere with the sorting process.

  • Currently we do not have a buyer for plastic bags which is important to complete the recycling cycle.

What can I do with my plastic grocery bags?
    • If you are only buying a few items at the store and don't really need a bag, refuse it. - Consider using a reusable bag to carry your items with you.

    • Ideas for reuse include:
      • Trashcan liner
      • Pet waste bag
      • Travel trash bag
      • Wet swimsuit carrier
      • Ice pack
      • Toiletry tote
      • Kitty litter liner
      • Lunchbag
      • Packing material

    • Many retailers have taken responsible action by providing bins at the front of their stores for their customers to place their plastic grocery bags in.  Check with your local retailer to find out if they offer this type of program.  If not, ask them to consider doing so.

Plastic or paper?  Green Cities California recently completed a study on the pros and cons of each type of grocery bag currently available.  View summary>>>

Return to blue barrel recycling



Picture of solid waste trucks

Solid Waste Management Department

Customer Service
(480) 644-2221

Department Managers

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 1466
Mesa, AZ 85211

Walk-in service requests/payments:
55 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ 85201

6935 E. Decatur St.
Mesa, AZ 85207

Office Hours:
7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed Fridays & holidays


Missed barrel notification

Damaged barrel notification

Barrel collection schedule

Barrel or service requests

All other service requests should be directed to Customer Service

Email us (General Questions)