Recycle right and get tough on soft plastics with these tips

Recycling soft-plastics sounds like a pain in the bum, but it’s actually easy. The key to doing it like a boss rests on two things: knowledge and know-how!  

Like anything in life it helps to have a system. Without a system you’re basically just flailing around. Sure, flying by the seat of your pants can be fun for some things – first dates, eating icecream, dancing like no-one’s watching – but when it comes to tackling the scourge this is soft plastics there’s no point winging it. If you do, then they’re sure to end up straight in your too hard basket: aka the rubbish bin and off to landfill. 

So let’s to grips with this soft-plastic recycling adventure, shall we?  Here are the best waya to go hard on the soft.

Top 5 soft plastic recycling tips:

  1. Find the Redcycle bin at your local Coles or Woolworths supermarkets. If you can’t find it don’t be afraid to ask. If the staff look like 🤷‍♀️don’t give up! Find the manager. A lot more people are choosing to ♻️their soft plastics these days so don’t feel like you’re a weirdo! 
  2.  Know what is classed “soft” and what isn’t. Plastic bags, bread bags, soft plastic food packaging from pasta and biscuits and frozen food plastic bags all count. Even baby food or yoghurt squeeze pouches can be Redcycled! Yep, you heard right. If you can’t avoid buying them entirely don’t bin them. Just squeeze out any liquid left in them and put the cap back on and Redcycle!!  
  3. If in doubt do the scrunch test. Basically, if it can be scrunched into a ball it’s probably good to go in the Redcycle. But check their website to be
  4. Have a system and make sure everyone is down with it! We have two collection points at home. let’s call them A & B (because well that sounds like a system, doesn’t it?):

A. I use a bag under our sink a set of sheets came in. (See pic) It’s a good example of something that’s actually not a soft plastic! I can’t recycle it so I reuse it to put our soft-plastics in. 

B. Also keep a bin outside to transfer the soft-plastics under the sink into every few days until you’re ready to take them to the supermarket. You don’t want to invite cockroaches to a soft-plastic party in your cupboard! 

5. Make sure the plastic isn’t overly wet. A little bit of sauce in something I’d fine but empty packets as much as you can and dry out anything that’s wet before you put it in with the rest of the soft plastics.  

And that’s it! When you have a big bag take them back to the supermarket and pop the bag in the Redcycle bin. Then marvel at how you have stopped all that plastic from going into landfill. And think about all the cool stuff it might be turned into like park benches and kid’s playgrounds! ♻️

Helen Barry

Helen Barry is a Sydney-based writer and content creator on a Zero Waste adventure! Editor of eco magazine War On Waste Weekly, Helen is also the mother of two Mini Waste Warriors.

  1. Hello! Little question regarding the plastic packets that have a foil looking interior (Macro organic corn Chips for example 😉) Do you know if these can be taken back to the supermarket? Thank you

    1. Hi Emma! Good question. As far as I understand it the plastic packets can be recycled, but I’m not so sure about the ones with the foil lining… now I think of it I’ve taken some back thinking they were fine, but maybe they weren’t. Recycling is so confusing! Especially soft plastic recycling. I’ll see what I can find out and get back to you on this.

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