78% of Australians are still disposing of soft plastics in their yellow-lidded kerbside recycling, unaware that it’s one of the biggest problems faced by recycling facilities.
As it turns out soft plastics are an enormous issue for our Material Recovery Facilities (MRF). Soft plastics thrown into kerbside recycle are destined to get caught in sorting machinery, clogging the system and slowing down the recovery process.
All soft plastics, whether it’s bread bags, empty pasta packets or even cling wrap, should be thrown in red-lidded general waste instead of recycle. If you’re unsure of whether it’s hard or soft plastic, scrunch it in your hand; if you’re able to make it into a ball easily, it’s a soft plastic!
For those shuddering at the thought of throwing any type of plastic into the general waste, there is an alternative. REDcycle operate soft plastic collection bins around Australia; you probably already have one in your local Coles or Woolworths without even realising it!
The next time you have soft plastics at home, collect them in your reusable shopping bag and throw them in a REDcycle collection bin the next time you shop! Just be sure to check if your local Coles or Woolworths supports the REDcycle initiative before heading out.
And once processed, your soft plastics can be used to create stuff like bollards, garden skirting and fencing, replacing traditional steel and wood that's being currently used. These plastic alternatives look better for longer and don’t degrade like their natural counterparts.
Some might bemoan the addition of another step in their recycling regiment, but you’ll be making sure that your soft plastics won’t end up in landfill and are properly recycled!