Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are traditionally made of polyethylene, a derivative of natural gas and petroleum. Plastic bags are not recyclable in the county’s single-stream recycling program. It takes more than 500 years for plastic bags to break down in a landfill because they are not biodegradable. Plastic bags that make their way to the natural environment create lasting litter and are harmful to the wildlife which may mistake them for food.

Alternatives to Plastic Bags:

Reusable shopping bags

There are a variety of reusable shopping bags available including some made of recycled materials. They are durable and often hold more items than single-use plastic bags.

Tote bags

Tote bags are versatile, reusable bags available in many shapes, styles, colors, sizes and materials. They are durable and many of them are machine washable.

Paper bags

Paper bags are made of paper or fiber and can be made of recycled material. Paper bags should also be reused. If they tear, clean paper bags can be recycled or added to compost.

Mesh produce bags

Mesh bags are reusable, lightweight bags that are perfect to carry your fruits and vegetables from the grocery store. They are usually made from cotton in a net mesh pattern which allows you to clearly see what is inside the bag.

What to do with plastic bags:

Reusing plastic bags

Plastic bags can be reused multiple times, for a variety of purposes, including storing items and lining trash cans.

Recycling plastic bags

If your plastic bags cannot be reused, recycle them instead of sending them to the landfill. Only clean and dry plastic bags may be recycled at special drop-off locations. Please remember that plastic bags cannot be recycled in the county’s single-stream recycling system. For more information, visit

 What Miami Beach is doing:


The City of Miami Beach distributes reusable bags at several city events.


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