Bag Blog

Plastic Bag Collection Events Tip the Scales on America Recycles Day

WASHINGTON, DC December 2, 2011 - Plastic bag recycling took on an educational and festive flair in schools, village squares, college campuses and retail store parking lots during America Recycles Day 2011, as community groups in 35 states embraced the message that plastic bags should not be treated like trash. In all, more than 130 plastic bag collection activities were held to celebrate the annual event sponsored by Keep America Beautiful and aimed at raising public awareness to reduce, reuse and recycle throughout the year.

The America Recycles Day celebrations ranged from school-wide collection competitions to craft fairs showcasing items made from reused plastic bags and earth patrols promoting sustainability. In addition, "Caught in the Act" collection events were held in five states that have adopted the A Bag's Life public-private program that encourages greater recycling of plastic bags and wraps. Pennsylvania became the latest state to join A Bag's Life on Nov. 15, officially America Recycles Day.

"It was exciting to see the enthusiasm with which our local America Recycles Day event organizers across the country embraced plastic bag collections and educational events," said Brenda Pulley, vice president recycling programs for Keep America Beautiful. "Recycling plastic bags makes sense and is one action consumers can take to protect our environmental resources. Plus, it is such an easy thing to do, you just have to remind people that they can take them back to a nearby store that recycles."

Nationwide, the recycling of plastic bags and wraps is on the rise, with more than 855 million pounds recycled in 2009 -a 31 percent increase since 2005.

A Bag's Life and its thought-provoking monikers "Don't Treat Me Like Trash" and "Gimme A Second Chance" were a big hit in Cambria Heights Elementary School in Carrolltown, PA. Administrators there "carefully and lovingly" counted 40,141 plastic bags before declaring the collection contest an overwhelming success and ending it a week early.

"It was over-the-top invaluable for the students," said Daria Wargo, school counselor a.k.a. Captain Recycle to students. "Parents, teachers, our local Walmart and county solid waste department were all on board to help. A Bag's Life and its smiley face gave us the incentive we needed to get it going. Many of our lesson plans include the recycling message and we'll continue to promote it throughout the school year."

A Bag's Life, also in full swing in Florida, Virginia, Texas and North Carolina, encourages consumers to additionally recycle other bags, like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers and bread, as well as wraps used on products like paper towels or bottled water. It includes an interactive and educational website ( and an app that pinpoints more than 10,000 drop-off sites by zip code.

A Bag's Life congratulates the following organizations for their tremendous effort in educating consumers about plastic bag recycling:

White Oaks Elementary School PTA

Keep West Baton Rouge Beautiful

City of Tempe Recycles

Burbank High School

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful

Waste Reduction Resource Awareness Program

Keep The Rez Beautiful

David Lipscomb Elementary School

City of Newport

Keep Lexington Beautiful

Keep Lincoln Parish Beautiful

Timber Point Elementary School

NAS/MWR Recycling

Cambria Heights Elementary School

J.A. Garcia ES/ Green Team

Kilohana Elementary School

Keep Port Aransas Beautiful

Keep Kingsport Beautiful

Binghamton Recycling

The International School at Mesa del Sol

Iowa DNR Green Team

Chaparral Elementary School

Westowne Elementary School

Edgewood Colesburg Cub Scouts

Grafflin Elementary

City of Hutto - Green Committee

City of Omaha Recreation Department - Florence Community Center

General Services Administration

Jobs For Georgia Graduates Career Association

Bloom High School

Zion Lutheran School

Worden Community Service Club

Campbell County's Mayor Office

Westmoreland Cleanways

Hampton Roads Planning Dist. Comm.

SRA International

Rochester Area School District

McBride Elementary

Keep Troup Beautiful

Yolo County

Cuero Intermediate School

Brushy Creek MUD

Flat Rock Elementary School

Native Village of Old Harbor

Camp Creek Earth Patrol

Scioto County Soil and Water Conservation District

City of Phoenix Public Works Department

Clermont County Board of DD

Anna's Daughter

La Porte County Solid Waste District

City of Kimmswick, Missouri

Deland High School Eco Club

City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program

US District Court

Annistown Elementary

Student Advocates for Earth

Pride In McAlester

Quality Cleaners

Brentwood Elementary School PTO

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Whitson Elementary School

Douglas Jamerson Elementary School

Booz Allen Hamilton

Stephens County High School - Preservation of the Reservation

Tri-County CleanWays


Kimball Elementary School

Keep Baytown Beautiful/City of Baytown Health Department

Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

DD Eisenhower Elementary School

Keep Lexington Beautiful

Keep Greenville Beautiful

GE Healthcare

Eastman Chemical Company

West Point Family and MWR

Chrysler Group, LLC

Haw Creek Elementary School

City of Mansfield

Wilburton Rising

In Harmony Community Club


Sustainability OIT

Berkmar APES

Salt Lake City

Otto Environmental Systems North America, Inc.

BBA Daisy & Brownies Scouts

TeamHealth Midwest

The Goddard School

Oregon State University Campus Recycling

Klockner PTA


Clorox Services Company

Buffalo Community Middle School

Landstar System, Inc

Keep York Co. Beautiful-Penn State Extension

Student Volunteers

Naifeh's Food Markets

Barbara Bush Elementary

City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program

UMF Dining & SCC

Stanton Elementary School


Frito-Lay-Green Team

FIS Green Team

Greene County Career Center

American Transmission Company

Gainesville Children's Center

Tatanka Elementary School

Ann Arbor Learning Community

St John the Baptist School

Students for Humanity

Dunwoody Elementary School

David City Public Schools

Alain L. Locke Magnet School for Environmental Stewardship

Bucks County Conservation District

Pine Bush Elementary

Maple Lake Elementary

Mission Hill Health Movement

Mohawk Elementary

Danville FCCLA Chapter

Cook Wissahickon School

Green Iowa Americorps


Upper Sioux Community

Key Biscayne Presbyterian Church School


Emerald City

Closed Loop Recycling

Ascension Catholic School

Keep Lancaster County Beautiful