Plastic Recycling Program – Thanks to Plastic Beach!

Tell a friend; we’ve got a plastic bag and wrap recycling program at Solana Center! Thanks to our partner Plastic Beach for making recycling easier for plastic materials that can’t go in the standard blue bin. They work to ensure all of the plastic bags and film are staying in the U.S. and being recycled nearby, keeping the loop traceable and closed.

Want to support Plastic Beach? Donate or sign up for a $14 subscription service to drop off your soft plastics at our center in Encinitas, The Mighty Bin in San Diego, or the Agua Hedionda Discovery Center in Carlsbad. You will receive a reusable collection bag during your first visit, which you can then fill with plastics. Drop off the full bag and pick up an empty one for the next cycle!

Drop off will be available during store hours: Thursdays, 12 – 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

All materials must be clean, dry, and empty. Here are some guidelines: 

  • Ziplock bags – YES
  • Empty clean trash bags (white, clear, colored) – YES 
  • Non-stretchy food packaging that’s been washed and dried such as salad bags? – NO
  • Plastic grocery bags if they are colored and not clear? – YES
  • Amazon Prime / USPS Priority plastic envelopes bags (with labels removed) – YES
  • Stretch wrap / bubble wrap / plastic packing pillows (deflated please) – YES

Questions about the plastic bag and film recycling program? Read more in the FAQs below, send a note to, or visit the Plastic Beach website

Frequently Asked Questions about Plastic Film Recycling

  1. What is “plastic film”? Plastic film is thin polyethylene plastic used for wraps, packaging or commercial/retail use bags. It’s sometimes called stretch film. Polyethylene (PE) film may carry a #2 HDPE or #4 LDPE mark but not always.
  2. What types of plastic film and bags should I recycle? Most clean and dry plastic films and bags are 100% Generally, if plastic film stretches when you pull it with your fingers, it’s okay to recycle it.
  3. Why can’t I put my bags in my curbside bin/cart? While a few local programs accept bags and wraps in their curbside collection programs, most do not. That’s because the bags and wraps have to be clean and dry to be recycled, and collecting them in curbside bins with bottles and containers generally leaves them too dirty and wet to be recycled. Additionally, bags and films can jam sorting machinery, creating problems for the businesses that sort recyclables.
  4. Why can’t frozen food or pre-washed salad bags go into the bin with my carryout bags? Many of these bags may contain a barrier polymer or other additives that is not the polyethylene (#’s 2 and 4) plastic that recyclers want. These polymer barriers help protect the food and extend shelf life but recyclers consider them to be a contaminant in the recycling bin.
  5. Can I recycle it if…
    • The plastic is colored? YES. Colored material is not a problem for recycling.
    • It tears like paper? NO. This type of plastic is currently not accepted in bag recycling bins.
    • It crinkles loudly (like candy wrappers or chip bags) when I mash it in my hand? NO. Please do not include, as it is not currently acceptable for recycling.
    • It has labels or tape? YES, but labels, tape, and adhesive strips NEED TO BE REMOVED prior to putting it in the recycling bin. The integrity of the bag isn’t important—the recycler just wants the clean plastic.
    • It is thicker, stiff plastic like pet food bags or bedding bags (including anything with a zipper)? NO. These are not the same type of plastic as what recyclers want, so DO NOT include.
    • If it says it’s degradable AND recyclable? Currently, these bags cannot be placed in drop-off bins. The recyclers reprocessing bags don’t want the products they are making to degrade over time so these bags are not acceptable.
    • It is dirty, has crumbs, or is wet? NO. Recyclers need the bags and film to be CLEAN and DRY. Please don’t include dirty or wet bags, or any material that has food or other residues. If in doubt, throw it out!
  6. What happens to my bags and wraps after they’re recycled? Plastic bags are recycled into many different products. Most bags and film are turned into composite lumber, but they can be reprocessed into small pellets or post-consumer resin, which can be used to make a variety of new products, such as new bags, pallets, containers, crates, and pipes. Watch this video to learn more about how your bags and wraps can become new composite lumber.