Plastic bags, as common as they are, are still not as widely recycled as other forms of plastic. According to the EPA, only 12 percent of the category of plastics that includes bags, sacks, and wraps ended up getting recycled in 2012. That’s compared to 31 percent of PET bottles and jars (water bottles or peanut jars, for example).
Typically made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE, number 2 plastic) or low-density polyethylene (LDPE, number 4 plastic), plastic bags and films are difficult to recycle because of their form. Plastic bags are lightweight and can easily get blown to places they don’t belong, and because they’re thin and flexible, they have a tendency to get snagged or tangled in machinery.