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Because You Asked

Can Cereal Bags Be Recycled?

By Recyclebank |

Cardboard cereal boxes are simply added to your paper recycling, but what about the bags?

Dear Recyclebank,

Can the bags inside the cereal boxes be recycled?

-Maggie R.


Dear Maggie,

Many cereal box liners are made from HDPE (#2 plastic) film. Rigid HDPE, commonly seen as things like milk jugs, is often accepted by curbside recycling programs. But plastic in film form (including bags) should not be added to your bin because it can jam up and damage recycling machinery. Instead, #2 plastic bags and other plastic film can be dropped off for recycling at one of thousands of retail locations. As with any kind of food packaging, make sure all traces of cereal residue are removed from the bag to avoid contamination.

Be aware that not all cereal bags are made of #2 plastic. If the bag tears like paper, or if you can’t find a plastic resin number on it, play it safe and either reuse the bag or trash it. There are many ways you can reuse cereal box liners around the house, including as a substitute for wax paper or to hold other objects such as papers and magazines.

American Plastics Council
Mother Nature Network



Do you recycle or reuse cereal box liners? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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  • Ke R. 3 years ago
    I just can't understand why non-recyclable plastic is even manufactured! It should be illegal as there are many other options for plastic. I think our plastic problem is greater than any carbon footprint on this planet, and should be far easier to control. Have you seen the Mexican upstart who has engineered a way to turn millions of tons of plastic into housing sheets? A house can be built in a week using this. Check out Eco Domum. Spread the word, and let us turn garbage into something valuable and long-lasting. Who would ever have thought that plastic mining could be profitable???
  • Bonnie W. 3 years ago
    I save them and use them for anything I can think of - sliced green peppers to put into the freezer, messy garbage, leftovers in the fridge, keep rolls fresh, etc. When leaving home with a cold bottle of water, I slip it into a cereal sleeve to keep the moisture contained. Home baked cookies store well in these bags. Anything you can think of, and certainly anything you would put into a Ziploc.
  • joanna l. 3 years ago
    You can use them to bring a sandwich (or snacks) to work.
  • Darla H. 3 years ago
    I haven't yet, but on utube they have ideas for their use.
  • Rachel A. 3 years ago
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