Skip to main content
How to Recycle Soft Plastics

How to Recycle Soft Plastics

A soft plastic (as opposed to rigid plastic) is a plastic you can literally scrunch in your hands

Soft plastics include plastic shopping bags, dry cleaning film, biscuit packets (but not biscuit trays), bread bags, cereal box liners, confectionery packets, frozen food bags, newspaper wrap, rice and pasta bags.

These items are not recyclable in most council recycling bin. Instead, take these plastics to the supermarket.

Most Coles and Woolworths stores have plastic bag recycle bins at the front of the store. In this bin you can dispose of the above items for free.  All you need to do is remember to take your bags and soft plastics with you when you go to the supermarket. You can find a full list of the items you can drop off on REDcycle info page.

Before you take shopping bags to the supermarket, think about what else you might use them for. If you use bin liners, use old bread bags or other soft plastics to line your bin. 

Image: REDcycle

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Science Notes

The reason that soft plastic bags aren't generally picked up in recycle bins is because they jam the mechanical recyclers and can contaminate other recyclable materials.

Plastic bags are generally very recyclable. In the recycling process, the plastic bag is melted down, then the softened plastic is pushed through an extruder which shapes the plastic before it is cut with a knife.

The end result could be a large piece of composite or thousands of little pellets, which can be used to make other plastic products such as building and construction products, door and window frames, exterior moldings, synthetic  fencing and decks.

Plastic bags can also be reprocessed into post-consumer resin used in the production of new bags, pallets, containers, crates and pipes.

Related Tip

REDcycle group collect the soft plastics from bins at Coles supermarkets.