What’s Your Plastic Bag IQ?

Plastic bags are problem solvers. They are 100 percent recyclable, can be reused for many purposes around the home and fuel a growing green industry in America. Policies seeking to ban or tax these bags are not only based on misinformation, they negatively impact businesses, jobs and families across the U.S.

Think you know the facts about plastic bags? Test your plastic bag IQ NOW!


Plastic bags are recyclable.

TRUE: Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable. Nine out of 10 consumers reuse their plastic bags for multiple household uses, like picking up pet waste. Recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and building products, such as backyard decks, playground equipment and fences.

Plastic bags are the most convenient, environmentally-friendly choice at the checkout.

TRUE: On a per bag basis, plastic grocery bags are the best checkout option for our environment. Plastic bags are more resource efficient, take up less landfill space and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions. If consumers lose their choice of plastic bags at checkout or are forced to pay for them, people will purchase thicker garbage bags, introducing even more plastic into the environment.

Reusable bags have been found to contain e. coli or other foodborne bacteria.

TRUE: When tested, 12 percent of reusable bags contain e. coli and about 50 percent contained other foodborne bacteria. Not to mention, nearly 40 percent of reusable bags tested in 2011 contained amounts of toxic lead that exceeded the allowable limit.

Plastic bags are made out of oil.

FALSE: American plastic bags are made from natural gas, NOT oil. In the U.S., 85 percent of the raw material used to make plastic bags is produced from natural gas.

Plastic bags make up a significant portion of the U.S. waste stream.

FALSE: Retail plastic bags are only one small fraction of the litter problem, less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. Solving the larger litter problem isn't about banning grocery plastic bags. The solution is to create new opportunities for recycling all plastics.


How’d you compare? Watch our video and find out!

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Learn the Facts

  • Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable. More than 900 million pounds of plastic bags, sacks and wraps were recycled in 2010. More »
  • Studies show that taxes and bans don't keep plastic litter out of the landfill. Without plastic grocery bags, people just purchase replacement bags—often made of thicker, heavier plastic—and then send those bags to the landfill, too. More »
  • Plastic bags are made in America; hundreds of millions of reusable bags are imported from China and other countries each year. More »