Plastic Bags Garbage Bin Do not recycle this material in your curbside bin! Since 2012, most retailers (supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience food stores, and any store greater than 10,000 square feet) in San Luis Obispo County have been prohibited from using single-use plastic checkout bags in their stores. In 2016, a statewide ban on single-use plastic checkout bags was enacted. Retailers offer paper bags instead of plastic ones, and customers will be charged a minimum of 10¢ per checkout bag. Customers are encouraged to bring along reusable bags. Why can’t I recycle my plastic bags? They are too thin to recycle with hard plastics and get caught in the processing machinery. The bags must be cleared at least twice per shift sometimes more often, shutting down the operation for 20 to 45 minutes at a stretch. And by “cleared”, we mean, in some cases, sawed away from sorting disks. Did You Know? The Impact of Plastic Pollution More than one million plastic bags are used per minute worldwide, and on a daily basis, over 10 metric tons of plastic from Los Angeles enter into the Pacific Ocean each day. Ninety percent of trash floating in the ocean is from plastic that will take between five hundred and one thousand years to degrade. In the meantime, one million birds and 100,000 marine animals are killed each year because of plastic floating in the ocean. Plastic Bags Become Composite Lumber Check out this fun video from Vancouver, Washington about how plastic bags and films are recycled into products like composite lumber, which is often used to make decks.