Recycle Your Plastic Bags

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Source: Heal the Ocean

COVID-19 forced grocery stores and other markets to use single-use plastic bags to reduce the spread of the virus to store workers handling personal reusable bags. As a result, tons of single-use plastic bags have gone out of stores and into the waste stream.

GOOD NEWS! There are stores that have reinstalled plastic bag bins, where you can take your bags, for recycling. Heal the Ocean researched, and called, to verify that the following stores have instated their recycling bins/programs for your single-use plastic bags! Please patronize these stores, and use their bins:

  • Ralphs Grocery Store at 5170 Hollister Ave. Goleta, 93117 (Bag bin located outside the store)
  • Albertsons Grocery Store at 5801 Calle Real, Goleta, 93117 (Bag bin located outside the store)

Here is the most significant way to keep plastic bags out of the environment during COVID-19 - go back to using your reusable bags, as follows:

  • Under COVID regulations, store workers can’t handle your reusable bags, but you can!
  • Put your reusable bags into the bottom of your cart, (or not), put all your groceries on top of them.
  • Go out of the store, and bag your groceries yourself with the bags from your cart or the ones you keep in your car. 

This simple tip will have you back in business with your reusable bags!

Meanwhile, please take any plastic bags you have acquired to the stores with recycling bins.

We thank these stores, one and all – and all of you, too -- for doing your part! 

Update: More Places to Recycle Plastic Bags

Heal the Ocean recently put out a notice that plastic bags are again being collected at certain stores for recycling, and we’ve received a great response from supporters wanting to help. We have also learned of additional locations where plastic bags can be recycled, added here:

  • Vons Grocery Store at 1040 Coast Village Road, Montecito, CA 93108 (Bag bin located outside the store)
  • Ralphs Grocery Store at 5170 Hollister Ave. Goleta, 93117 (Bag bin located outside the store)
  • Albertsons Grocery Store at 5801 Calle Real, Goleta, 93117 (Bag bin located outside the store)

Update:  Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners - 14 W. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara, 93101 - has updated its film plastic recycling program during COVID. Please e-mail Ablitt’s at [email protected] to be put on their Recycling Invitation List and you will be contacted for a time to come in with your recyclables. If you have Facebook access, you can check the Ablitt's Facebook Page: then email [email protected] to reserve your spot. (Note: apologies to our supporters for previous, incorrect information).

Ablitt’s takes almost everything – film plastics, bubble wrap, deflated air pillows, bread & product wrappers (clean), and other items– but because of COVID, they require the sorting to be right, which means supervision at the recycling site. Remember to park across the street on Gutierrez and walk to the recycling area behind the cleaning establishment.

ALSO: Both the Community Environmental Council and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper are accepting film plastics by appointment at their respective offices. They, too, require an appointment, to ensure that the film plastic is clean and non-contaminated.

Please e-mail or call to schedule an appointment in advance:

  • Community Environmental Council (CEC): 
    • Please call Kathi King at 805-689-2075 or email [email protected] if you want to schedule a drop-off.
  • Santa Barbara Channelkeeper:
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a-1595801081 Jul 26, 2020 03:04 PM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Ah good, detailed instructions for how to use plastic bags.

Minibeast Jul 26, 2020 05:04 PM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Thank you, Ablitt's. We've got a small stash saved up; mostly bread bags. I wish we'd known sooner about the case wrap and t.p./paper towel/napkin wrap. *******When my housemates first came home and told me the supermarkets were saying not to bring your own bags, I said, "Just tell the store clerks to put your items in your cart (or you do it) and then bag it at the car, using your own bags." We've worked too hard to ban single-use plastic bags to let this pandemic set things back to square one.

a-1595849795 Jul 27, 2020 04:36 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Do you mean the wrappers on 6 unit or more paper towels and TP? I use those as trash bags. Just depends how you rip them open.

angryjoe Jul 27, 2020 08:16 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Daughter works at Traders and she mentioned that they suggest bagging at the car. Great idea. Plastic sucks. Just read we breathe in micro particles. Wonder if that’s true.

Minibeast Jul 27, 2020 11:56 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

ANGRYJOE: Not only are we breathing in microplastics, it has been discovered we are ingesting them in our food: potatoes, carrots, apples, etc. (source: BBC Newsround)-----(And I did laugh at the "precipitation" line----yep, rain.)

sbpaddy Jul 27, 2020 11:10 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags
MarBorg in Goleta (20 David Love Place) and Santa Barbara (132 Nopalitos Way)

a-1595849578 Jul 27, 2020 04:32 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

I've never not re-used a plastic bag. I miss my grocery store trash bags! Food bags are re-used til they're unusable. And honestly, do some research. Loose bags are bad for wildlife, but if you think your shopping bags are killing the planet, in the face of REAL pollution, you're off the mark. Water is the next deadly marker. If you thought immigration, refugees and death due to lack of resources were an issue before, hold on to your seats. I'll be gone, thank goodness, and didn't have any kids. More and larger global die offs are due. But have you checked out the birthrate, nationally and globally, lately? The USA NEEDS people, to work, to pick our food, and to care for the elderly. We'll be begging for immigrants in a few decades. Enjoy it. Why people have kids I'll never understand.

angryjoe Jul 27, 2020 08:17 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Thank you Ablitts! Also, the CEC on Anapamu accepts plastic bags.

letmego Jul 27, 2020 09:56 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

I think they might still have a bin at the Rite Aid on Fairview. They used to, anyway. I have been asking our local store to just put all of my groceries back in the cart. Then I wheel the cart to the car and bag it there using my reusable bags. In any event, we still have quite a few of the plastic bags from the first few trips to the store. They are very strong and definitely reusable.

a-1595920572 Jul 28, 2020 12:16 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

9:56 - then do you wash your cloth bag every time, to be sure there are no COVID or other germs on them?

letmego Jul 28, 2020 10:05 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

We wash them occasionally. However, studies have shown that Coronaviruses don't live very long on surfaces - the longest surfaces, they survive for maybe 4-5 days. We shop once every 1 to 2 weeks, so by the time we are reusing our bags, any COVID virus would be gone by then. Most experts say that you don't really need to disinfect your groceries anyway, so we stopped doing that.

missausten Jul 27, 2020 10:00 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

According to their website, the Community Environmental Council/CEC on 26 Anapamu St.
no longer has regular film plastic drop-off hours due to covid.
Seems like there should be at least one recycle place in upper Santa Barbara not just in downtown or way out in Goleta.

OWLworks Jul 27, 2020 11:18 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Irony-- I became vigilant about having bags, now they fill up trunk. Hope these stores recommending bagging in the car will provide discounts now that they don't have baggers? --and hope there is less business-trashing shop lifting, not to mention theft, including cars with food supply! Being paranoid--I cling to my receipt "just in case"--I used to lose it within seconds. Like an OWL I look around 280 degrees also good for neck and balance! If nothing else, people will think me insane. Now, yes.

d8vanilla Jul 27, 2020 02:34 PM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

All those "baggers", are now doing other jobs at the stores, like sanitizing the cards & hand baskets. Collecting the carts from the parking lots. Sanitizing inside the stores... Also, helping restock the shelves....

a-1595920707 Jul 28, 2020 12:18 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

2:34 p.m. And picking up the discarded gloves and masks in the parking lot :-(

PitMix Jul 28, 2020 09:18 AM
Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Placing plastic bags in a bin is not recycling. My understanding is that there is no market for these bags and other plastics now that China doesn't take them and they at best end up in the landfill. An example of the wishcycling that is most of what takes place in the US nowadays. But the plastics industry thanks you for your magical thinking.

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