Soft plastics, the kind that can be scrunched into a ball, cannot be recycled via your council collection and are among the biggest problems in the kerbside recycling system*. In fact, 8 out of 10 councils consider them to be the number one problem, as once collected, they get caught in the sorting recycling machinery causing stoppages and costly damage to equipment.
The good news is these plastics can be recycled at many supermarkets through special REDCycle bins (see below!). If you can’t take them to your supermarket REDCycle bin, you will need to dispose of them through your landfill garbage bin.
For more information about how to avoid single-use plastics, click here.
This free soft plastics recycling program is made possible through REDCycle, which has worked with Coles and Woolworths/Safeway Supermarkets to set up collection bins in stores across most metro areas of Australia.
The cost of collecting and processing the material is covered by many of Australia’s best-known manufacturers.
The plastic is made into furniture for schools and kindergartens among other things.
Unfortunately, as revealed in research done for National Recycling Week, only 47% of people currently know about the program!
What You Can Recycle
You can recycle
- Plastic shopping bags
- Bread, rice, pasta, lolly and cereal bags
- Biscuit packs (but not the trays)
- Frozen food bags
- Bubble wrap
- Fruit and veg bags and netting
- Toilet paper packaging and similar product packaging
- Old green bags (and other re-usable bags)
*A handful of Councils in WA and VIC used to accept plastic bags and soft plastics in the recycling bin when they were tied up inside a plastic bag. However they no longer do so. At this time, no matter what Council you are in, plastic bags and other soft plastics should never be placed in your yellow-lidded kerbside recycling bin.