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March 25, 2022

Which soft plastics can be recycled?

Did you know you can't recycle soft plastics in your kerbside recycle bin? (unless your council is super fancy).

I know, it’s plastic so you would think you can, right?! However, soft plastics tangle around machinery and cause jams which are a huge inconvenience for our mates at recycling facilities!

Our goal is to help you reduce as much as possible, but if you still have soft plastics, luckily there is a way to recycle these with a company called REDcycle.

What is accepted through REDcycle?

 

 

All you have to do is collect the items below and drop them off to your local supermarket (Hello Coles and Woolworths).

YES PLEASE!

Biscuit packets (outer wrapper only)
Bread bags (without the tie)
Bubble wrap (large sheets cut into A3 size pieces)
Cat and dog food pouches (as clean and dry as possible)
Cellophane from bunches of flowers (cut into A3 size pieces)
Cereal box liners
Chip and cracker packets (silver lined)
Chocolate, snack bar & ice cream wrappers
Cling film - GLAD, COLES HOME brand and WOOLWORTHS Essentials Home brand ONLY
Confectionery bags
Plastic Australia Post satchels
Fresh produce bags (including net bags)
Zip lock bags
Fruit stickers (stick to other plastics)

NO THANKS!

Plastic bottles
Plastic containers
Any rigid plastic such as meat trays, biscuit trays or strawberry punnets
Adhesive tape
Balloons (of any kind)
Bathroom/shower loofahs
Biodegradable/degradable/compostable plastics
Black plastic bags used to dispose of other soft plastics
Blister packs, tablets and capsule packaging
Blow up pool, pool toys or beds - plastic or PVC
Bread bag tags
Christmas tinsel and Christmas trees
Cling film - with the EXCEPTION OF GLAD, COLES HOME brand and WOOLWORTHS Essentials Home brand
Cooler bags
Disposable food handling gloves of any variety

See the full list here.

What happens to the waste?

REDcycle perform the initial processing, then it's delivered to their Australian manufacturing partners:

1. Replas: convert REDcycle material into a range of recycled products including indoor and outdoor furniture, bollards, and signage.

2. Close the Loop: utilise REDcycle material as a component of high performance recycled asphalt additive for road infrastructure known as Tonerplas.

3. Plastic Forests: Use REDcycle material as a component of products such as mini wheel stops and air conditioner mounting blocks for the consumer market

Do you need to wash out items before REDcycling them?

Packaging materials should be ‘empty and dry’ but their recycling processes can tolerate a limited amount of contamination (such as a few crumbs or a bit of dried gravy). Please ensure your plastics are dry as wet plastic creates a mould issues.

Can I drop my plastics off in a black or dark coloured garbage bag?

Unfortunately, they are not able to accept materials in black (or dark green) garbage bags. The supermarket staff and their drivers cannot easily see the contents of the bags, meaning that they cannot detect whether or not they contain any contaminants/garbage.
In relation to individual pieces of black soft plastic (and black bags that do not contain other soft plastic packaging), these are fine to REDcycle, just please cut to A3 size pieces or smaller.

Why aren't all brands of cling wrap REDcyclable?

Most cling wraps are made from PVC – a material they are not able to process because it releases a very toxic chemical when heated, which is hazardous to both their processors and the environment, and it doesn’t recycle well. Glad are brand partners and they do not use PVC in their cling wrap. Coles home brand and Woolworths Essentials home brand cling wrap are also safe to REDcycle. Multix standard cling wrap (not the degradable type) is also not PVC, so this can also be REDcycled.

Most commercial cling film that is wrapped around newspapers, or fruit and vegetables in supermarkets is PVC based.

*PVC Hack: You can tell the difference as PVC plastic is very stretchy, has an orange or gold tint when layered, and has an odour, whilst Glad non-PVC wrap is clear and odourless.

Do you have to remove the stickers on my bread bags?

Not if it’s only a small paper label. A little paper doesn’t affect the recycling processes at all. If the label is bigger than A5 size, please do peel or cut it off.

Can I REDcycle compostable plastic?

REDcycle are not able to accept any biodegradable, degradable, compostable or photodegradable materials because these are deliberately designed to disintegrate, which impacts the structural integrity of the products made from the recycled plastics.

Want to expand your recycling knowledge?! Head to our Australian Guide To Recycling here.

Thanks for choosing to learn more about such an important topic! Spread the word by sending this blog to a loved one who wants to improve their recycling knowledge.


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