Soft plastics recycling put on hold

1 Aug 2023
Resilient Environment
Old soft plastics wrappers scrunched up in a pile

Like our community, we were disappointed to hear the REDcycle soft plastics collection program has been put on hold.

We are working with other Victorian Councils to lobby the State Government for soft plastics processing facilities. The major supermarkets that provided REDcycle collection points are working with the State Government to find a long-term collection solution.

Some Councils with transfer stations are currently undertaking a trial with Advanced Plastic Recycling (APR), the main soft plastic processor in Victoria, who can accept and process soft plastics in Dandenong South.  

We are continuing to research viable soft plastic collection service options capable of accommodating Manningham’s needs. 

Unfortunately avoiding soft plastic is a challenge. Soft plastics are plastics usually made from polyethylene and easily scrunched down into a ball. Examples are shopping bags, produce bags, food packaging and bread bags.

Below are some ideas for changing daily habits to reduce soft plastics use and further information is available on the Plastic Free July website. If you have soft plastics place them into your red lid garbage bin. Do not place soft plastics into your yellow lid recycling bin as they cannot be recycled. Your green lid FOGO bin is only for food and garden organics.

Reducing your soft plastics waste

With soft plastics recycling on hold, instead of reaching for the soft plastic packaging, look for unpackaged items such as fruit and vegetables. Consider using paper bags or visit bulk food stores. Have your bags and containers ready especially for those unexpected trips to the shops.

In the kitchen, materials such as glass, cardboard, aluminium and hard plastic can be used as reusable food storage containers.

As a consumer, you can also advocate for packaging changes such as increases in recyclable, reusable containers made for refilling.

Try soft plastic free alternatives

  • Soft plastic fruit and vegetable bags – from woven string to organic cotton mesh, there’s a diverse range of light-weight, reusable bags available for produce. Remember to keep them in your sturdier shopping bags when out and about. If you are in a hurry, paper mushroom bags are available in most supermarkets.
  • Soft plastic packaging – when possible, choose loose produce or ask if you can use your own containers made from recyclable materials (glass, cardboard aluminium etc).
  • Plastic wraps – store your leftovers in reusable containers, put a plate over your bowl, or use beeswax or silicon wraps. If you need a quick cover, aluminium foil can be used then crumpled into a ball and put into your recycling bin.
  • Sandwich bags – alternatives include reusable food bags, wraps, containers or paper and cardboard as these can be recycled in your yellow bin. Avoid individually wrapped items, instead portion larger meals or food items into smaller reusable pouches or containers.
  • Reusable containers - food in glass jars and hard plastic containers from supermarkets can be reused or consider purchasing larger meal containers that are dishwasher, oven and freezer safe and can be used multiple times.