Scrunchable plastic.... and what to do with it

You’ve probably seen or heard about the new state-wide guidelines on recycling and know that soft plastics – that is, anything that is scrunchable – shouldn’t be placed in your yellow top recycling bin.

If you’re asking yourself what you should be doing with all that flimsy plastic then it’s important to know that recycling is still the answer!

Soft plastic in hand

What you need to know

Firstly, you’ll need to keep soft plastics separate from the rest of your recycling because you’re going to have to put a tiny bit more effort into giving it a second life.

Secondly, you’ll want to get in the habit of grabbing these and dropping them into the RedCYCLE bin at your nearest participating supermarket.

This small act will help to prevent plastic – which as we all know can take thousands of years to break down – from ending up in landfill.

What can you put in the RedCYCLE bins?

Almost all ‘empty and dry’ soft plastics can be placed in the specially marked bins. RedCYCLE provides a full list on its website but, to get you started, these are just some of the things that you recycle:

Please enter an image description.

You can also include common plastic items such as Australia Post sachets, bulk pet food bag and bubble wrap. When it comes to larger items they ask that you trim them to A3 size.

What happens to the plastic after you put it in the collection bin?

All of the plastic is collected and returned to a RED Group facility for processing, before being sent on to Victorian manufacturer Replas where it is transformed into a unique range of recycled-plastic products including furniture, bollards and signage.

Who pays for this recycling process?

REDcycle is a voluntary, industry-led initiative supported by major supermarket chains and well-known consumable brands. You can find a full list of the companies that support this scheme on the RedCYCLE website.

Why don’t councils collect soft plastics anymore?

Soft plastics, including lightweight plastic bags, can often damage the automated machines typically used to sort household recycling, making the recycling process less efficient. This video demonstrates the sorting process at a US-based recycling facility, but it also applies in Australia (and hands up who can spot an Australian supermarket chain cameo at the end?).


If you aren’t already recycling your soft plastics it’s time to start! For more information on the RedCYCLE program visit

Keep reading

Up for a challenge?