The Regional Municipality Of York


Plastic Bag Take-Back Program

Ontarians use an estimated seven million plastic bags each day, which is roughly 80 bags per second. Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down. York Region started the Plastic Bag Take-Back program to let residents know they can bring their plastic bags back to retailers to be recycled. This reduces the number of bags being sent to landfill.

What is the Plastic Bag Take-Back Program?

Recycled plastic bags are used to make things like new plastic bags, plastic lumber, patio furniture and park benches.

You can search the Drop Off Directory for participating stores. Please be advised that locations are subject to change, it is suggested to contact the store ahead of time to confirm their continued participation.

How do I Recycle my Plastic Bags?

It is easy to recycle plastic bags:

  1. Turn your plastic shopping bags inside out
  2. Stuff your plastic shopping bags into one bag
  3. Drop them off at a Take-Back bin at a participating store

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are plastic bags and film not accepted in York Region’s Blue Box program?

Many municipal blue box recycling programs accept different materials depending on available resources and infrastructure. York Region does not accept plastic bags and film in the blue box because:

  • Plastic bags get tangled up in the sorting machinery at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF)
  • There are increased costs to sort by hand
  • There are increased maintenance costs to remove tangled bags and significant downtime while machines are repaired
  • Plastic bags and film may contaminate other recyclables
  • There are limited local end markets for processed plastic bags

What happens if I put my plastic bags/film in the blue box anyway?

Workers at the MRF need to remove it by hand and will dispose of it as garbage.

What types of plastic bags/film are accepted at which participating retailers?

It is suggested that you call the store prior to dropping off your plastic bags. Most programs accept clean and dry newspaper bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, toilet paper wrap, paper towel wrap and T-shirt bag wraps. A good rule of thumb is, if the plastic can be stretched, it is good for recycling.

Related Resources

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Contact Us

  • Garbage and Recycling Inquiries

  • 1-866-665-6752

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