Soft Plastics Recycling 101

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Soft Plastics recycling is a less commonly applied form of recycling but the truth is it’s really easy. Recycling soft plastics actually has benefits not just for the environment but for you too! You’ll suddenly find a whole lot more room in your red bin and you’ll become much more aware of how much plastic we use on the reg, perhaps even implementing strategies to start reducing that consumption (here are some examples of how to do that that we prepared earlier.. :p).


Scrunch Test

In summary, the easiest way to know whether or not to recycle a soft plastic is to do the SCRUNCH TEST! If it can be scrunched, it can be recycled in a REDcycle bin.



What can you put into the REDcycle bins?

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 and snack bar wrappers

Confectionery bags

Dry pet food bags

Fresh produce bags

Frozen food bags

Green bags (Polypropylene Bags)

Ice cream wrappers

Large sheets of plastic that furniture comes wrapped in (cut into A3 size pieces)

Netting produce bags (any metal clips removed)

Newspaper and magazine wrap

Pasta bags

Pet food bags (chaff/horse/chicken) – both the plastic and woven polypropylene types (but not woven nylon). Cut into A3 size pieces and shake free of as much product as possible

Plastic Australia Post satchels

Plastic carrier bags from all stores

Plastic film wrap from grocery items such as nappies and toilet paper

Plastic sachets

Potting mix and compost bags – both the plastic and woven polypropylene types (cut into A3 size pieces and free of as much product as possible)

Rice bags – both plastic and the woven type (if large, cut into A3 size pieces)

Snap lock bags / zip lock bags

Squeeze pouches with lid on (e.g. yogurt/baby food)

Wine/water bladders – clear plastic ones only

Please make sure your plastic is dry and as empty as possible.


What can’t you put into the REDcycle bins?

Plastic bottles

Plastic containers

Any rigid plastic such as meat trays, biscuit trays or strawberry punnets

Adhesive tape

Balloons (of any kind)

Biodegradable/degradable/compostable 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 wrap/Cling film of any kind

Coffee bags

Cooler bags

Disposable food handling gloves of any variety

Drinking straws

Film negatives and x-rays

Fishing line

Foam or polystyrene of any kind

Foil / Alfoil of any kind

Food waste


Laminated materials and overhead transparencies

Medical waste materials

Nylon – woven, soft or fishing line

Paper and cardboard

Paper post packs

Plastic/clear vinyl packaging from sheets and doonas etc

Plastic packaging that has contained meat

Plastic strapping used for securing boxes and pallets

Powdered milk packets, made of foil


Rope of any variety

Rubber, rubber gloves, latex


Tin cans

VHS Tape

Vinyl – any type of vinyl packaging

Wet plastic materials as mould is a problem for us

Wine/water bladders – foil based

Wrapping paper and cardboard, ribbons or bows

Many of these NO items can be recycled in your regular yellow bin such as strawberry punnet containers, bottles, tin cans, plastic containers to name a few. Simply check for the correct recycling symbols on these plastics before putting in your yellow recycling bin. 


Where are REDcycle bins?

Most Woolworths & Coles will have a REDcycle bin near the front of the store. The ones we have personally used so we know they exist are:

  • Woolworths Marsfield
  • Coles Epping
  • Woolworths Top Ryde
  • Coles Top Ryde
  • Coles Macquarie Centre
  • Woolworths Macquarie Centre
  • Coles Rhodes Waterside

This screenshot map outlines the REDcycle bins in our area. You can click here to enter your suburb to find the nearest one to you.




Do it at your workplace

Download this poster from REDcycle. put it on top of a bin and ask your colleagues to put all the YES items inside the bin. Then once a week a member of the team can drop to a supermarket. The beauty is because they are dry items, they don’t smell in your car so if you forgot for a week or two in your boot it doesn’t matter! 


Be part of the solution

Once you’re at the point where you’re horrified by how much plastic you’re collecting, you may feel the urge to start making some noise. One idea is to contact the business you are shopping to provide feedback. The more pressure the better!

Here are two great articles on our website about reducing our impact on the planet:


If you’d like to read more about soft plastic recycling, visit Recycle’s website. A lot of information/images in this article has been taken from the REDcycle website.