Stillwater News

Bagging your recyclables? Here’s why it’s doing more harm than good.

Released:Nov 20, 2019


(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Nov. 20, 2019) – We all know that plastic bags are bad for the environment, but they are also bad for our recycling program and its equipment, too.

The City of Stillwater reminds residents that plastic bags do not belong in residential recycling carts. If you collect your recyclables in bags, empty the contents into your recycle cart and return the plastic bags to the retailer or grocer.

Any plastic bags made from high-density polyethylene (#2 plastic) or low-density polyethylene (#4 plastic) jam up recycling machinery, contaminate other recyclable items in your cart, and can ultimately send your recycling to the landfill instead.

What are we talking about? Disposable carryout plastic bags distributed at the point of sale, also known as single-use bags. These bags are not accepted in the recycling program. Plastic trash bags, such as liners for garbage cans, are also unaccepted.

So what can you do with your plastic bags? Here are some options:

  • When you go to a store, take your own reusable bags, or ask for no bag if you're only buying one or two items.
  • Take your empty, clean #2 or #4 plastic bags to appropriate recycling centers. Many grocery stores have collection bins where you can drop them off for free. 
  • If your plastic bags are made from something other than #2 or #4, use them for something else, like lining your garbage cans, before throwing them away.

Stillwater’s recycling program accepts only rigid plastics stamped No. 1, 2 or 5. Look for a recycle symbol and its associated number on all plastic items.

Other commonly misplaced items in recycling carts are medical sharps (needles, syringes, lancets), catheter bags and other medical waste. These items should always be placed in your trash cart if you are disposing of them through the City's waste management program.

For more information on what’s recyclable, go to

The City of Stillwater thanks you for recycling responsibly.


For media inquiries, contact the Department of Marketing and Civic Engagement at 405.742.8219 or email


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