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Bulk Bag Recycling UK 2023

Last updated on November 15th, 2023

Wondering What To Do With Your Empty Bulk Bags?

Bulk bag recycling UK

Have you got some empty bulk bags but not sure how to go about recycling them? You’re not alone. There’s not a lot of clear information out there so I’ve done the research.

We’re all getting into a groove now when it comes to reusing and recycling plastic bags. But what about those large builders bulk bags? Bulk bag recycling in the UK seems to be a problem that lots of us are coming up against. I hadn’t even thought about it until the problem quite literally landed on our doorstep.

I say our, but it was actually a neighbour who decided that she needed to get some work done on her driveway. So, off she went to the only place you can go, a builders merchant. Two days later, along comes a big truck and drops two bulk bags on her drive. A great service, I’m sure you’ll agree. But when she asked the driver what to do with the bags once they were empty, thinking they might want them back, he just advised her to ‘chuck them in the bin’. 

Can you Recycle Bulk Bags in the UK?

A full bulk bag. What to do with Empty bulk bags

But chucking things in the bin isn’t my or my neighbour’s style, so I went online, typed bulk bag recycling UK into Google and expected the internet to tell us what to do, I simply wanted to know if bulk bags can be recycled. It wasn’t so easy.

I found a company that takes and recycles the bags, but then I noticed their phone number started with 555. So, if you’re in the US and reading this, you’re sorted For us here in the UK, it’s not so easy.

There are plenty of places telling you what they’re made of. Woven polypropylene with some kind of UV protection. Which, after a little research, means they are similar to most other recyclable plastic bags. If technical science is your thing, take a look at this post about what a bulk bag is made of.

But what it means to the average Joe and Joan is that you can’t recycle them at home. Nor can you recycle them with your standard bags because the chemical makeup isn’t the same. But fear not, there’s still hope.

Can you Bring your Empty Bulk Bags to your Local Recycling Centre?

Sign for recycling centre - Empty bulk bags

Although you can’t simply take them to a bag recycling point at your local supermarket, you might be able to get them recycled at your local tip or as we call it now household recycling centre.

I say might because I was able to. However, I’ve since spoken to someone in a different part of the country who said their local recycling centre told her to put them in the general waste section.

I recommend that you call your local centre before making the trip to check if they can recycle them, as it seems some centres can do more than others. You can visit the Recycle Now website, enter your postcode and they’ll give you the contact details.  

So yes, I guess you can bring your empty builders bags to your local recycling centre but whether or not they can be recycled or not is still the question.

Ideas on How to Upcycle Your Empty Bulk Bags

If your local centre doesn’t offer a recycling option you might want to look into some ways that you could reuse or upcycle the bags to save them from getting thrown away. Here’s a link to the American website that I mentioned earlier, they have some good ideas about what you can do with your unwanted bags. Such as using them as compost bags and using them for weed suppression.

Bulk Bag Recycling UK is Possible in Some Areas, so Please Try to do it.

It is possible to recycle them and hopefully, you won’t have to travel far to do your bit to limit the amount of plastic going to landfill. And it really is important that we each do our bit. Statista.com reports that an estimated 4.9 million metric tons of plastics are placed on the market each year, of which three-quarters become waste.

If that sounds crazy, remember that’s happening every year. Pretty frightening stuff! But good job for searching for a solution to your bulk bag recycling UK needs. The more plastic we can keep out of landfill and out of our oceans the better for us, that planet and the animals. 

I know it’s not a clear answer, but I sincerely hope I’ve helped you find a way to recycle your empty bulk bags. Or upcycle them.

For more tips on sustainable living, check out my posts on sustainable living, remember. It all helps.

Meet the Author

Author Bio - Sinead OCarroll - The Wondering Wandering Vegan

Meet Sinead O’Carroll: Vegan explorer, sustainability advocate and the founder of The Wondering Wandering Vegan. Embracing veganism since 2018 and vegetarianism since 2005, Sinead is armed with a Vegan Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle qualification, and is on a mission to share her passion for cruelty-free living. 

With a taste for adventure and a heart for eco-conscious choices, she’s here to prove that vegans never miss out on flavour, fun or style. Join her in enjoying the delights of a vegan-friendly world! 🌱✈️🌍
Want to know more? Check out Sinead’s About page here.

Follow me on Instagram to see all the delicious vegan food I find, the vegan and cruelty-free products I use and what I get up to as a travelling vegan.

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