Soft Plastic Recycling

Soft Plastic Recycling

I've been reading lately about the increasing use of soft plastics (the kind you can scrunch into a ball - think supermarket shopping bags and bread packets) in bitumen paving and road making amongst other things.

The road construction industry has been adding polymers to bitumen for many years, however soft plastic has the ability to be melted down and used as an additive with added advantage of providing a 65 per cent improvement in fatigue resistance for roads under stress from heavy traffic according to Roads & Infrastructure Australia.

They also quote figures from Sustainability Victoria, of 4 BILLION plastic bags being used by Australians every year with only 3% being recycled. On top of this according to the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA) we spend $200 million per year picking up plastic waste that has made its way into the environment.

RED Group is a Melbourne-based consulting and recycling organisation who has developed and implemented the REDcycle Program; a recovery initiative for post-consumer soft plastic.

Did you know that you can recycle the following items by dropping them off at a REDcycle collection point?  These are located at most Coles and Woolies supermarkets across Australia.

  • 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

Yeah it's a bit more work but surely worth the effort if it means these items can have a useful impact rather than ending up in landfill, or choking our waterways and ultimately our precious marine wildlife.


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