top of page
Beach

PLASTIC BEACH GENERAL FAQs

Where does Plastic Beach operate?

We offer on-site pickups for businesses throughout San Diego County, from Oceanside to Chula Vista. Our drop-off program is available based on interest in specific geographic clusters. For example, drop-off is available at the Solana Center and Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. Additionally, we collaborate with businesses across Southern California, as well as extending our reach across the United States and abroad to help us spread awareness about the significance of plastic wrap recycling.

 

Why the name “Plastic Beach”?

Our founder, Matthew Clough, has always been a big fan of the band Gorillaz and was inspired by their 2010 album of the same name.

Can plastic bags, bubble wrap, etc., all be recycled?

Yes, most plastic wraps/bags are made of polyethene (PE) and are very recyclable. These soft bags will have a ‘2’ or ‘4’ if marked.

 

Can I put my plastic bags into my curbside recycling?

Unfortunately, no! EDCO, Republic, and Waste Management all refuse curbside recycling of plastic wrap as it interferes with their conveyor belt sorting systems. This means plastic wrap goes to the landfill, whether in a blue bin or in the trash!

 

Apart from Plastic Beach, where can I recycle plastic wrap?

A few stores, such as Walmart, Stater Brothers, Kohl's, etc., have small plastic wrap recycling bins, but recent articles have cast doubt on whether these bags even get recycled. In any case, these store-based collections are unsuitable for the van loads of plastic wrap we collect weekly!

 

Why do we need to recycle plastic wrap?

Plastic is highly recyclable, so we are basically throwing away raw materials that could be used to make and re-make plastic bags over and over. In our case, we forward the collected and baled plastic wrap to the US company TREX, who make decking planks from it!

 

Where does Plastic Beach collect the plastic wrap/bags?

Most retailers see a lot of items pre-wrapped in plastic (bags, bubble wrap, air cushions, etc.) that will be removed before being placed on display. At present, this is almost always thrown in the trash, but we are already working with over 20 companies of all sizes to help provide a recycling solution that is easy for them to use. For example, some local businesses we support are Jimbo's, Cardiff Seaside Market, Hansen, and Surf Ride!

Is there a cost to these programs?

Yes, your donations and subscriptions help us cover our collection costs, maintain our 12-foot-tall industrial baler and transport vehicle, and cover other standard operating costs for a business. Of course, as a 501c3 non-profit, Plastic Beach is eligible for donations from people and businesses that want to help tackle this previously ignored problem.

Why would a business use Plastic Beach’s services?

We aim to help engaged businesses reduce their landfill footprint, update them on how much plastic wrap they divert - for use in their marketing, and encourage peer respect and engagement.
 

Is there a profit in plastic bag recycling?

No. Plastic bags are reimbursed at approx. 14 cents per pound (when shipped as multiple 15 x 800 lb. bales!) – as in the USA, commercial recyclers are not interested in accepting this plastic wrap other than in 800 lb. baled bulk deliveries. This is the core reason Plastic Beach is alone in tackling this issue. To illustrate: 1 large cubic yard of uncompressed plastic wrap/bags comes in at around 15 lbs. Factoring in driving a collection route to pick up these light but large-sized collections from even local businesses, it is simply cost-prohibitive.

What does Plastic Beach seek to achieve?

First, we aim to educate others that plastic wrap can and should be recycled and encourage them to use the few recycling facilities offered by Walmart and other corporations. Secondly, we are working hard to establish relationships with retail partners who would previously throw these bags in the trash and instead offer solutions to collect and divert them to commercial recyclers to accept these un-baled bags in bulk. By working with suppliers using plastic bags and the plastic bag industry itself, we can promote increased recycled materials in products and switch away from plastic where possible while lobbying our local governments to have our community trash and recycling services accept plastic wrap!

How can you help?

We are looking for advocates to help spread the word that plastic bags are recyclable but NOT accepted by present curbside recycling! You can do this through social media and visits to select retailers, schools, and community organizations. In addition, ask your favorite retail store or even the business you work at to examine their plastic wrap situation and consider joining Plastic Beach’s program.

What type of plastic wrap can be recycled with Plastic Beach and what type should I not include? 
Below is a list of the types of plastic wrap we can accept and ones that we can't recycle. 

bottom of page