Soft Plastics Recycling 101

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Soft Plastics recycling is a less commonly practised 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.. ☺️).


What to REDcycle

First, check the packaging for any sign of the new Australian Recycling Label (ARL) symbols (find out more about these at OR the REDcycle logo.  In the absence of one of these symbols (note these are gradually being rolled out to ALL types of packaging – this will just take a little bit of time), use the below table as your guide.


What CAN be 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
  • Cling film – GLAD, COLES HOME brand and WOOLWORTHS Essentials Home brand ONLY
  • Confectionery bags
  • Document sleeves (remove the white reinforcement strip along the holes)
  • Dry pet food bags
  • Fresh produce bags
  • Frozen food bags
  • Green bags (woven polypropylene bags)
  • Ice cream wrappers
  • Large sheets of plastic that furniture comes wrapped in (cut into A3 size pieces)
  • Meat – plastic packaging that has contained meat (rinse and dry first)
  • 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 be 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)
  • Bathroom/shower loofahs
  • Biodegradable/degradable/compostable plastics
  • Black plastic bags used to dispose of other soft 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 film – with the EXCEPTION OF GLAD, COLES HOME brand and WOOLWORTHS Essentials Home brand
  • Cooler bags
  • Disposable food handling gloves of any variety
  • Drinking straws
  • Film negatives and x-rays
  • Fishing line
  • Foam or polystyrene of any kind (including soft flexible foam)
  • Foil / Alfoil of any kind
  • Food waste
  • Glass
  • 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 strapping used for securing boxes and pallets
  • Polyester of any kind
  • Powdered milk packets, made of foil
  • PVC
  • Rope of any variety
  • Rubber, rubber gloves, latex
  • Solar pool covers
  • Tarpaulins
  • 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 the items listed above 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 them in your yellow recycling bin.

Where are REDcycle bins?

Most Woolworths & Coles will have a REDcycle bin near the front of the store. Here are some of the closest bins:

  • Coles Top Ryde Top Ryde City Shopping Centre, 109-129 Blaxland Road Ryde

  • Woolworths Top Ryde Cnr Devlin Street & Blaxland Road Ryde

  • Woolworths West Ryde 14 Anthony Road West Ryde

  • Coles West Ryde Chatham Road & Betts Street West Ryde

  • Coles Rhodes Rhodes S/C, 1 Rider Blvd Rhodes

  • Coles Gladesville Cnr Flagstaff & Cowell St Gladesville

  • Woolworths Eastwood Eastwood Centre, 160 Rowe Street Eastwood

  • Woolworths Metro Boronia Park 130 Pittwater Road Boronia Park

  • Coles Lachlans Lane 13 Halifax Street Macquarie Park NSW

  • Woolworths Marsfield Cnr Epping & Balaclava Roads Marsfield

  • Woolworths Ermington 30 Betty Cuthbert Avenue Ermington

  • Coles Concord 48-62 Majors Bay Rd Concord

  • Coles Macquarie Centre 197 – 223 Herring Road Macquarie Park

  • Woolworths Macquarie Ryde Macquarie Shopping Centre, Cnr Waterloo & Herring Roads North Ryde

  • Woolworths Newington 1 Avenue Of Americas Newington

  • Woolworths North Strathfield 145 Concord Road North Strathfield

  • Coles Epping 53-57 Rawson St Epping

  • Coles Lane Cove 56-60 Burns Bay Rd Lane Cove

  • Woolworths Lane Cove Longueville Rd & Austin St Lane Cove

  • Coles Five Dock 4-12 Garfield St Five Dock

  • Coles Birkenhead Cary St,Birkenhead NSW

  • Woolworths Carlingford 801-809 Pennant Hills Rd Carlingford

  • Coles Carlingford Carlingford S/C, 801-819 Pennant Hills Rd Carlingford

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 with 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 Redcycle’s website. A lot of information/images in this article has been taken from the REDcycle website.