Soft Plastic - Scrunch and Recycle
Author: Brad Gray
Soft plastics, the kind that can be scrunched into a ball, are among the biggest problems in the kerbside recycling system. In fact 8 out of 10 councils consider them the number one problem as they get caught in the recycling machinery.*
The good news is these plastics can be recycled at many supermarkets. The bad news, as revealed in research done for Recycling Week, is that only 22% of people know about the program!
This free program is made possible through REDcycle, which has worked with most Coles-metro and some Woolworths/Safeway Supermarkets to set up in-store collection bins. There are about 400 stores across Australia. The cost of collecting and processing the material is covered by many of Australia’s best-known manufacturers (including the Planet Ark Endorsed Naturale Toilet Tissue.)
The plastic is made into furniture for schools and kindergartens, council signage and decking among other things.
The plastic needs to be clean, dry and empty. A few bread crumbs and a paper label (smaller than A5) are OK. Keep degradable and biodegradable plastic out of the bins.
What You Can Recycle
A good way to remember to recycle these plastics is to put them straight into your reusable shopping bag. You can recycle
- Plastic shopping bags
- Bread, rice, pasta, lolly and cereal bags
- Biscuit packs (but not the trays)
- Frozen food bags
- Newspaper wrap
- Bubble wrap
- Dry cleaning bags
- Toilet paper and similar product wrapping
- Old green (and other re-usable) bags
Search For a REDcycle Store Near You. If there isn't a store near you, you can post your soft plastics to: RED Group, Attn: Plastic packaging recycling, 38 Chelmsford Street Williamstown North VIC 3016.
The Few Council that Accept Soft Plastics
There are a handful of councils that can accept bags and soft plastic in the recycling: Lismore and Ballina in NSW; Moreland in Vic; and, Cockburn, Vincent, City of Fremantle, Town of East Fremantle, Kwinana, Melville, Subiaco and City of Perth in WA.
Brad was Planet Ark's Head of Campaigns for 10 years. He trained and worked as a history and geography teacher before moving into the health education sector for 14 years. With a strong passion for human environments, Brad started with Planet Ark in 2007 as Recycling Programs Manager.