Soft plastics and packaging waste

We can all make a difference with a few simple switches.

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Supermarket soft plastics recycling on hold

  • The REDcycle soft plastics collection program is temporarily paused and soft plastics are not being collected for recycling at this time.
  • Soft plastics, including plastic bags and plastic wrappers, are not recyclable in the yellow bin.
  • Please put soft plastics in your general waste bin. We can't collect soft plastics on behalf of residents.

Like our community, we're disappointed to hear the REDcycle soft plastics collection has been paused.

Council has supported the REDcycle soft plastics program through community education and purchasing recycled plastic products from Victorian recycling partners — such as recycled plastic equipment in parks and seating at GESAC.

We hope the program will be back up and running soon to help reduce soft plastic waste going to landfill.

For the latest updates on the program, visit the REDcycle website. 

What is Council doing to reduce soft plastic waste going to landfill?

  • We are investigating opportunities to support our community avoid waste and improve reuse and recycling as we transition to a circular economy.
  • We are advocating on behalf of our community for State Government to invest in appropriate recycling infrastructure and systems that keep resources circulating in the community, including soft plastic materials.
  • We are communicating with other councils and industry partners about this challenge.
  • We will keep our community up-to-date with any changes to soft plastics recycling. 

Reducing waste from the start

The pause in soft plastics recycling has also been an important reminder about reducing the amount of disposable, single-use packaging made and used in our community.

Reducing waste from the start is a key part of moving to a circular economy and away from the current ‘take-make-waste’ way of doing things where materials are made into products we eventually throw away as waste.

Council recently endorsed the first Glen Eira Circular Economy Plan 2022-2026, which sets out how we’ll lead by example to manage resources more sustainably, support our community and advocate for broader change.

What can you do to reduce waste and manage soft plastics?

There are small actions you can take that make a big difference to household waste.

  • Avoid — try to avoid packaging by using reusables or choosing unpackaged options. Check out your local fruit and vegetable store, farmers markets, delis and bulk food stores for unpackaged items and refill stations. There are many stores in Glen Eira that are happy for customers to bring and use their own clean containers.
  • Reduce and recycle — if you can't avoid packaging, look for alternatives with less wrapping and recyclable options (eg. aluminium, glass, tin, cardboard and hard plastic containers). Check what items can go in your yellow and green bins and keep this in mind.
  • Ask for change — have your say and advocate for sustainable changes. Let brands and companies know if you would like to see their packaging change. For example, you may like to see less packaging, more recycled and recyclable materials or reusable, refillable options.

Try these sustainable swaps

Instead of this

Try this

Plastic produce bags

  • Bring your own reusable fruit and vegetable bags to the shops.
  • Keep reusable produce bags with your shopping bags.
  • If you do forget your produce bags, keep fruit and vegetables loose in your basket and pack directly into your shopping bags — or use a paper mushroom bag.

Cling wrap

  • Put leftover food in containers.
  • Cover a plate of food with an upside-down plate or bowl.
  • Reusable food coverings (eg. silicone covers, beeswax wraps).
  • Use aluminium foil. Reusable is the best option but alfoil is a better disposable alternative to cling wrap because it can be recycled in the yellow bin (scrunch into a ball).

Plastic snack bags or sandwich bags

  • Reusable food pouches.
  • Small containers or sandwich containers.
  • Reusable sandwich wraps.
  • Paper lunch bags and sandwich bags (small paper bags can go in the green bin).

Food and produce in plastic wrapping

  • Choose unwrapped, loose produce where possible.
  • Check out your local fruit and vegetable store, farmers markets and bulk food stores for loose produce and refill stations.
  • Ask if you can use your own container for deli items.
  • Look for recyclable packaging options (eg. cardboard, aluminium, glass or tin).
  • Avoid individually wrapped or snack size packages by getting a regular pack and portioning into smaller reusable pouches or containers.

What should you do with soft plastics?

We understand that it's difficult to avoid all soft plastics and sometimes there are limited accessible alternatives. Thanks for doing your best to reduce waste wherever you can. For the soft plastics you do end up with:

  • Please put soft plastics in your general waste bin for disposal.
  • Please do not put soft plastics in the recycling bin. Soft plastics, plastic bags and wrappers are not recyclable in the yellow recycling bin and can get caught in recycling machinery.

We will keep you updated with any changes to soft plastics recycling.

 

FAQs

Can Council collect my soft plastics?

It's very important to us to support our community  to reduce waste and we are looking into possible solutions for Glen Eira as we do not have a waste transfer station where we can collect and hold soft plastics.

We are not currently accepting soft plastics and they should be disposed of in your general waste bin.

What are soft plastics?

Soft plastics are 'scrunchable' plastic wrappers or films, anything made of plastic that can be scrunched into a ball. Examples of soft plastics are plastic bags, bread bags, cling film, confectionary wrappers and fresh and frozen produce bags. 

Can I put my recycling in a plastic bag and then in the yellow bin?

No, plastic bags should never be put into the yellow bin.

Please put your recyclables loose into the bin, not bagged.