Bag Blog

"Plastic Bag Forgiveness Day," June 25, Offers Hampton Roads Residents Second Chance to Recycle

By Elizabeth Evans — James River Journal (June 6, 2011)

Guilty of throwing your plastic shopping bags out with the trash? Relax. HR Green is offering residents a second chance to do right by the environment when it hosts “Plastic Bag Forgiveness Day,” Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Peninsula Town Center in Hampton and Walmart at 7350 Tidewater Drive in Norfolk.

Residents who stop by either location and drop off five plastic bags for recycling will receive a cool, reusable Chico shopping tote (one per person, while supplies last), along with other freebies and information on ways plastic bags can be repurposed. The special events are supported by Keep Virginia Beautiful and A Bag’s Life, a national recycling awareness campaign.

“Don’t treat your plastic bags like trash,” said John Deuel, executive director of Keep Norfolk Beautiful and HR Green executive committee member. “Most retail stores now feature plastic bag recycling bins. When you bring your bags back to the store, they can be repurposed into other products such as outdoor decking, park benches and even new bags. It’s easy to do—and it yields great results.”

In addition to generating interest in plastic bag recycling, event organizers want the public to know why plastic bags can’t be dropped in municipal curbside containers for recycling.

“Plastic bags require a different type of recycling than plastic bottles and containers. They cannot easily be separated from other recyclables such as bottles and cans in the early stages of processing,” explained Deuel. “Major grocery store chains and other stores that accept bags ask that clean, dry used plastic bags and wraps be recycled in bins at the store.”

About the Event Partners

Launched in Virginia last year, “A Bag’s Life” is a plastic bag recycling awareness campaign, which features an interactive and educational website and mobile app with nearly 800 drop-off sites by zip code. Through quirky messaging such as “Don’t treat me like trash,” and “Gimme a second chance,” the campaign encourages Virginians to reduce, reuse and recycle their free plastic bags.

With a focus on simple steps residents can take to find their “inner green,” HR Green is a region-wide public awareness campaign to be launched this summer by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the 16 cities and counties it serves. An interim resource, <> , presently features regional news, tips and views written by a team of local experts who work in the region’s municipal utility and environmental divisions. Encouraging residents to reduce, reuse and recycle are among many topics covered on the blog.

Both “Plastic Bag Forgiveness Day” events will feature music, giveaways and other demonstrations. For information, visit

Did you know?

  • Recycled plastic bags can be repurposed into other products such as outdoor decking, park benches and new bags.
  • Dry cleaning, newspaper and bread bags, as well as wraps used on products like paper towels and bottled water, can also be dropped off at many retailers for recycling.
  • You can log on to to find a plastic bag recycling drop-off location near you.
  • Plastic bags require a different type of recycling than plastic bottles and containers. That’s why it’s important to bring them back to the store for recycling, instead of placing these in your community curbside container.
  • Reusing your plastic bags is good too! More than 90 percent of consumers reuse their plastic bags at home for an infinite number of purposes.
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to use plastic bag alternatives. Bring your own reusable tote wherever you shop!