San Antonio/ Community & Society
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Published on June 20, 2024
San Antonio Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags from Blue Recycling Carts to Enhance EfficiencySource: San Antonio Solid Waste Management Department

San Antonio is making a significant change to its recycling program, a move that echoes actions taken in cities across the nation. In a shift aimed at improving recycling efficiency, beginning August 1, the San Antonio Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) will no longer accept single-use plastic bags in the blue recycling cart. The change, announced today, is being made to avoid the contamination of the recycling stream and to prevent damage to recycling machinery.

The ban on plastic bags is set to impact the way the city's 370,000 customers manage their recycling. "The decision to stop accepting plastic bags in the blue recycling cart is not unique to San Antonio," SWMD Deputy Director Josephine Valencia said “Of the nation’s ten other largest cities, none of them are accepting plastic bags in the blue cart. San Antonio kept them in its program for several years, but operationally it hasn’t worked. The change affects our 370,000 customers, but it is important to note that the city’s private hauling companies that collect from the remaining 2,081,000 population and commercial businesses have never accepted plastic bags in their recycling programs.” 

To aid residents in this transition, SWMD is offering alternative options for disposing of plastic bags. Shoppers are encouraged to use reusable bags or utilize retailer drop-off kiosks—designed for the collection of plastic bags, which can then be recycled separately from other materials. For plastic bags that cannot make their way to these kiosks, residents are advised to dispose of them in the brown trash cart. Updated informational materials will be distributed to educate the public on the new guidelines.

If you need further clarification on what to do with your plastic bags, or how to adjust to the new recycling protocols after August 1, SWMD has made additional resources available at SARecycles.org. Updated info will ensure residents are well-informed about the new practices designed to streamline recycling operations, and ultimately, support the city’s environmental goals.