Plastic bags can cause big problems when placed in your kerbside recycling bin, most* councils around the country do not accept them.
Most supermarkets accept plastic shopping bags for recycling, look for the plastic bag recycling collection bin at the front of the store. Torn or damaged reusable ‘green bags’ that can no longer be reused can also be placed in these collection bins.
Many other types of soft plastics (including plastic bags), can now be recycled at selected supermarkets through a scheme run by the REDcycle program. These soft plastics include pasta and rice bags, lolly and biscuit packets, fresh fruit and veggie bags, frozen food bags, magazine and newspaper wrapping, and clean plastic wrap/film. Find your nearest soft plastic recycling location here.
About plastic checkout bags
- 20 million Australians still use over 3.9 billion plastic checkout bags a year. That’s 10 million a day!
- A person's use of a plastic checkout bag can be counted in minutes - however long it takes to get from the shops to their homes. However, plastic bags can take between 15 and 1,000 years to break down in the environment.
- Many marine and terrestrial animals are killed by plastic bags that escape from landfill. The best solution to this problem is to use reusable bags that prevent you using plastic bags in the first place..
Recycling plastic checkout bags
- Plastic bags cannot be placed in most* council kerbside recycling bins.
- Over 200,000 plastic checkout bags are dumped in landfills every hour.
- Only 3% of Australia's plastic bags are currently being recycled, despite recycling facilities being available at major supermarkets and retail outlets listed above.
*There are a handful of councils that can accept bags and soft plastic in kerbside recycling services: the City of Busselton in WA; as well as Booroondara, Nillumbik and Hobson's Bay in VIC.