Q. Dear Umbra,

I cannot find the be-all, end-all guidance as to what kinds of plastic bags and plastic films can be recycled. Merchant bags for sure, but what about all that other plastic sheeting? Cereal bags? Shrink wrap packaging? Saran wrap? It’s all plastic film to me, but am I fudging up the system by dropping these in my supermarket barrel of plastic bag recycling?

Bagging Vance
Houston, Texas

A. Dearest Bagging Vance,

Recycling confusion is vexing indeed. I get more questions from my dear readers on this topic than on any other. So many of you fervently wish to do your best, but you’re not quite sure how. Must I wash out my jars? How important is sorting, really? Can I recycle these batteries? What about that pencil stub?? This Color Me Badd mix tape??? It’s almost like a single plea rising from the Ask Umbra inbox: Please, just tell me what to do with my recycling, and I’ll do it!