State law requires that all stores providing plastic carry out bags to customers must accept the same type of plastic carryout bag provided for recycling. Exceptions include stores less than 5,000 square feet or any non-chain store less than 10,000 square feet.

You can recycle plastic bags at large stores, shopping malls, and at medium to large chain stores that provide plastic bags. Plastic bags that are being returned should be free of debris.

All plastic bag recycling bins should be easily visible. 

All plastic carryout bags provided to customers must include a message that says "Please return to a participating store for recycling."

Retailers must also provide reusable bags for purchase.

Get a guide to recycling requirements for businesses.

You can report a store that does not accept plastic bags for recycling.

  • Agency: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Division: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Tip Line
  • Phone Number: (800) 847-7332
  • Business Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week