Hefty ReNew Program FAQs

Find answers to some common questions about the Hefty ReNew program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Hefty ReNew program?

The Hefty ReNew Program provides a simple, convenient solution for hard-to-recycle plastics such as plastic utensils, candy wrappers, pet food bags, and foam takeout containers that would otherwise be thrown away. The program is an easy addition to your current recycling routine, keeps these plastics out of landfills, and converts the materials into valued resources. By participating, you are helping reduce dependence on fossil fuels and increasing the efficiency of your recycling facility.

Why was the program name changed from Hefty® EnergyBag® to Hefty ReNew™? 

The EnergyBag® name has been used since its earliest days, and at the time materials were solely used as an energy resource. The new program name better reflects what the program is actually accomplishing through a variety of end markets and was found to be preferred by participants through consumer research.

What is different about Hefty ReNew™ bags? 

The program name has changed, which you will see on the package when purchasing the bags. We've also added a drawstring closure on the bags. The bags are still orange and made with 20% recycled materials.

How does the program work? Can I participate?

If you live in a participating program area, simply buy the Hefty® ReNew® orange bags at your local store, fill the bag with accepted hard-to-recycle plastics, and when it’s full, tie it up and place it in your curbside recycling cart or bin, or take it to an approved drop-off facility, depending on your community. Your regular recycling truck will pick up the tied bags along with your normal recycling. The recycling center then separates these bags from other materials and sends them on to facilities that use the hard-to-recycle plastics as an energy resource — or break them down to create new and useful products.

Be sure to continue your normal recycling routine. The Hefty ReNew program supplements conventional recycling – it does not replace it.

Is there a cost to participate in the program?

The only cost for participants is the cost of the bags themselves. The purchase of a box supports the costs associated with the program operations, including the cost of manufacturing the bags, program transportation costs, and the additional costs incurred by the recycling and conversion facilities. Beyond the cost of the Hefty® ReNew® orange bags to residents who elect to participate, there is no additional charge.

What are “hard-to-recycle” plastics? How are they different than the plastic I already recycle?

Some plastics can be difficult to recycle because of their type, complexity, shape, size, or flexibility, and the challenges they can create for equipment at recycling facilities. Look for the small recycling symbols that are stamped on most plastic products; the number in the middle of the symbol is your guide. Numbers 1 and 2 are easily recyclable and should go with your regular recycling. Number 3 can be recycled at some, but not all, recycling facilities. Numbers 4 through 7 are the hard-to-recycle types. Most recycling facilities don’t have the equipment or sorting capabilities needed to process them, and end-markets for these materials are more challenging for them to deal with – harder to identify, harder to make cost-effective. Those are the plastics that go into the Hefty® ReNew® orange bags.

What can go into the orange bags? What shouldn’t go into the orange bags?

Download the full list of the hard-to-recycle plastics accepted in the program and what shouldn’t go into the program bags.

Why are the Hefty® ReNew® orange bags needed?

The specially designed Hefty® ReNew®orange bags keep all the loose, hard-to-recycle plastics separate from the other materials that participants recycle. The bag is tough enough to survive the recycling truck. The bright color makes it easy for recycling facilities to separate and forward the materials they cannot process, so the hard-to-recycle plastics don’t contaminate metal, glass, paper, and other recycling streams. For the program to work, the bag must be plastic; any other material would contaminate the plastic resources inside it. The orange bag is made with 20% recycled materials and it becomes a resource right along with its contents. 

What happens to the collected Hefty® ReNew® orange bags?

There are a variety of end markets currently being used with the materials collected. Collected plastics may be ground into smaller pieces to make new plastic products, including building products, construction materials and plastic lumber, or they may be used to replace some of the coal that fuels kilns in cement manufacturing. An independent life cycle assessment found that these solutions were environmentally better than simply sending hard-to-recycle plastics to landfills. The Hefty® team is continually evaluating end-of-life alternatives for hard-to-recycle plastics and is ready to adjust as other end markets emerge.

Source: Sustainable Solutions Corporation and S&C, Hefty ReNew Program Life Cycle Assessment 2022


Is the process for disposing of hard-to-recycle materials changing with the Hefty ReNew™ Program?

No. The same hard-to-recycle materials will go in the orange bags and your curbside pickup or drop-off process is the same. All that's changing is the name and the addition of a drawstring closure on the bags to make them even easier to dispose of your items.

I still have some of the former Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags. Can I use them? 

Yes! Continue to place them on top of your normal recycling at the curb or bring them into a participating drop-off location. When it is time to repurchase new bags, look for the new program name, Hefty ReNew in store or online.

I can’t find Hefty® ReNew® bags at the store. Where should I go?  

The name of the program has recently changed, but if you still have Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags left, you can still use them. When looking to buy more bags, look for the new name, Hefty ReNew. They will still be located in the trash bag aisle of the store or online at HeftyReNew.com. 

Are these Hefty® ReNew® bags the same as the Hefty® Ultra Strong™ Renew® item? Can I use this instead? 

No, the only bags that can be used in this program are the orange bags, Hefty® ReNew®or Hefty® EnergyBag®.  Hefty® Ultra Strong™ Renew® trash bags will be renamed in the near future. Look for the bright orange Hefty® ReNew® bags in your local store or online.

Still have questions? Contact us.

Participant & Product Questions: Contact Us.

Press, Municipalities, or Corporate Inquiries: Contact Us.

Recovery Facility (MRF) Inquiries: Contact Us.



How the Hefty ReNew™ Program Works

When communities sign up for the Hefty ReNew program, local residents help keep hard-to-recycle plastics out of the landfill in just a few easy steps.

Hefty® Sustainability

Hefty® is committed to sustainability, making recycled and compostable products that can be found on store shelves across the U.S.

Hefty ReNew™ Program News

Check out press releases and news articles to discover how the Hefty ReNew program is making a difference in communities.