Soft Plastics: How to Recycle them Properly

Did you know: Soft plastics are the number one form of contamination in recycling plants.

According to 1 Million Women, this is because;

They can damage machines inside sorting facilities and even cause some to break down, preventing other materials from being recycled.

Soft plastics are often thought to be “worthy” of the recycling bin, but they’re actually not.

They need to go to a separate recycling facility to be recycled.

Soft plastics are the kind that can be scrunched up into a ball.

I first learnt about soft plastics recycling from Simple-ish Living. She shared her year’s worth of plastics on Instagram; all washed, dried, packed and ready to recycle. It really inspired me to do the same, so I started collecting, washing and drying out all the soft plastics I could find around our house, in our bin, even on trash walks around our neighbourhood; eventually collecting enough to take to our local REDcycle drop-off point.

It’s really important to wash AND dry any type of item to be recycled, whether it’s soft plastics or not, as this prevents contamination. If the item is contaminated in any way, shape, or form, it won’t be recycled.

Where to take Your Soft Plastics to be Recycled

In Australia, there are a few different places that will accept soft plastics for recycling. REDcycle are one of the biggest companies at the moment that will take your soft plastics to recycle, and you can often find their drop-off bins at big supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths. However, if you visit their site, you can locate the nearest REDcycle drop-off point near you to take your plastics to, as well as view a list of what plastics are accepted, and what aren’t.

REDcycle bin
A REDcycle bin located at a Coles supermarket. (Source)

What Happens to the Plastic when it’s Recycled?

So, once you’ve collected your plastics – washed and dried – and dropped them off at a collection bin near you, the plastic is collected and taken to RED Group’s facility for initial processing, then it’s delivered to manufacturer Replas (RED group’s partner) where it’s transformed into recycled products.

According to REDcycle;

Replas uses the material as the resource to produce a huge range of recycled-plastic products, from fitness circuits to sturdy outdoor furniture, bollards, signage and more.

I’ll be sharing updates of my soft plastics recycling on Instagram if you’d like to follow my journey there, otherwise stay tuned for future posts on my trash walks, repurposing of old, broken, or so-called “useless/rubbish” items, and much more!

One of my trash walk hauls; I separated the items to wash, dry and add to my soft plastics collection to recycle. Ari, our dog, came to join me <3

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.

Have you recycled soft plastics before? Or been on a trash walk? Share in the comments below.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

REDcycle. (Accessed: September 15, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.redcycle.net.au/

Recycling Facts: Navigating Your Bins Like A Boss. (June 27, 2018). 1 Million Women. Retrieved from https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/recycling-facts-navigating-your-bins-boss/

Soft Plastics. Recycling Near You. Retrieved from https://recyclingnearyou.com.au/education/softplastic