Plastic Bags & Overwrap

Plastic filmPlastic film is lightweight, versatile, reusable and strong - a great all-round packaging material

Most Canadians use plastic film in many ways, large and small every day. We probably all have a stash of used plastic bags in various shapes and sizes, and purchase items multi-packs of paper towel, or flats of pop or juice with an overwrap that holds the individual items together. For larger applications, plastic film protects hay bales, adds a vapor barrier to homes and protects boats in the winter. It's less a question of where is plastic film used than where is it not providing a valuable service in our everyday lives!

Plastic bags and overwrap are recyclable!

Film Drop Off DirectoryPlastic film is usually made of low or high or low density polyethylene HDPE and LDPE) and clean film and overwrap from homes and businesses is readily recyclable. It is not collected in all recycling programs and we’re always working to make improvements. If your program doesn’t collect plastic film, you can always use the Film Drop-off Directory to find out where and how you can recycle bags & overwrap.  

And when they're recycled...


What is CPIA doing?

Plastic bags and overwrap are valuable resources and used wisely, offer many benefits. CPIA supports efforts to divert used plastic bags from landfill, educating consumers about reduction, reuse and recycling options and working with:

  • retailers to promote proper packing and use of bags  
  • municipalities to expand curbside recycling of plastic overwrap and shopping bags  
  • industry to ensure that viable end markets are available and continue to grow   

CPIA has funded studies and worked with communities and industry partners to find out how best to recycle the largest possible amounts of plastic film. It's always best to reuse plastic film products and packages as long as you can, but when they can no longer be used safely and hygienically, the next best option is to recycle them, using the path promoted in your community.

Fast facts

For more information: see Recycling Resources