Bench the Bag Program

Annually, Scottsdale Elementary and Middle Schools participate in the “Bench the Bag” program in which students collect thin film plastic such as plastic shopping bags.

Bench the bagDuring the program, schools compete against other Scottsdale schools to recycle the most plastic film per student while students are learning the importance of recycling and keeping plastic out of the landfills. 

This is a 5-week long contest in which some schools in the past have collected over 2 tons of thin film plastic during the contest period.

Thin film plastic is the biggest contaminant in the city's recycling program because it can damage the automated equipment at the facility where all of your recyclables are sorted.

So instead of putting this valuable resource into your recycling or trash container, consider taking your plastic bags to your local grocery store and look for the special recycling bin.

By reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic bags, your family can help reduce litter, prevent pollution and save natural resources. Please help by recycling your plastic bags and packaging year long.

2018 was the fifth year Scottsdale Solid Waste has run the contest which is sponsored nationally by The TREX Company . The company utilizes millions of plastic grocery store bags each year to create its composite lumber product, keeping this material out of landfills locally and across the country. TREX will provided each school a poster, magnets for each student and an award made from TREX decking boards. The first place winners receive a TREX bench.


How does the Challenge work?

  1. Bench the Bag Lexis PrepSchools compete against other Scottsdale schools to recycle the most plastic film per capita.
  2. A City of Scottsdale representative will visit your school to weigh and pick up collected materials on a weekly basis and take the bags to be recycled. (On average, a 30-gallon trash bag will hold about 650 plastic bags and weigh 8 lbs.)
  3. Scottsdale Solid Waste will report the collection totals and determine the local contest winner.

When does the Challenge take place?

The contest takes place annually during the months of February and March.  

What can be recycled?

All collection materials must be relatively clean, completely dry, and/or empty. Please remove receipts! During the recycling process, receipts destroy the integrity of the batch and cause the entire load to be placed in a landfill instead of recycled.

Soft plastics accepted include:Bench the Bag Sequoya

  • Plastic retail and grocery bags
  • Shrink wrap (water bottle, soda, Gatorade, paper towel, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Saran wrap
  • Bread/bakery bags
  • Produce bags
  • Cereal bags
  • Ziploc or re-sealable bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Newspaper sleeves
  • Bubble wrap
  • Ice bags (must be DRY; must remove metal clips)
  • Mattress bags

I have additional questions?

For additional information, please contact John Stumbaugh at the City of Scottsdale at 480-312-5730 or

Contact Information

City of Scottsdale - Solid Waste 
9191 E. San Salvador Dr.
Scottsdale, AZ 85258 
P: 480-312-5600 
F: 480-312-8115
Report a Solid Waste Issue

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