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Effective January 1st, 2020, UW Recycling accepts plastic film through a separated self-service recycling program. It can no longer be included in mixed recycling containers in Seattle. Please note custodians are not responsible for transporting these materials to the collection containers. 

What is acceptable

  • Air pillows (deflated)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Grocery bags 
  • Shrink wrap
  • Ziploc bags (clean, dry)
  • #4 LDPE plastic film

How to tell if you can recycle your plastic film

  • The film can be easily be stretched with a thumb
  • The film is clean and dry

What is not acceptable


All film must be clean, dry and collected separately from other recycling.

  • Use your own clear bags to gather the recyclable film


    Plastic film, bagged for recycling

    Plastic film, bagged for recycling

  • Use a free self-service box to collect plastic film; or 

    Self-Service Plastic Film Bin

    Self-Service Plastic Film Bin

    Self-service plastic film bin

  • If you work in a location that generates a large amount of film, such as a shipping center, contact

Collection locations

Plastic film collection locations
on the Campus Sustainability Map
(opens in new tab)

Or if the plastic film container locations above are not accessible to your department:

  • Place the bags next to the recycling containers at building’s loading dock or service area. Do not block doors or walkways.
  • After bags have been placed, email Materials will be collected during the next regularly scheduled stop at your building.

Waste reduction tips

  • Check UW Surplus first when purchasing supplies and equipment, they’re packaging-free!
  • Order office supplies on a monthly/quarterly basis rather than one item at a time to reduce shipping and packaging.
  • For laboratories, review the Green Labs purchasing resources to find vendors that use less packaging.