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25 February 2014

Recycling plastic bags

Green newsflash!  You can stop throwing away flexible plastic bags like bread bags, grocery bags, frozen food, pasta and confectionery plastic packaging.  Recycling plastic bags is now possible in Australia.

We all know that hard plastic such as plastic bottles and containers can be recycled through kerbside recycling bins, but until now our household has been putting flexible plastics in the rubbish (meaning off to landfill).

We now gather all soft plastic in a separate bag and take them to our local Coles supermarket to the Redcycle bin located at the front of the store.  From there, the bags are used by Australian recycled plastic manufacturer Replas to make a range of products such as outdoor furniture, bollards and decking.

For those not able to visit Coles, we have asked Redcycle to let us know whether there are other options for non-metro residents to drop off bags.

The greenie ideal is for product manufacturers and distributors to take responsibility for their product throughout its entire lifecycle, including what happens to it at the end of its life.  Redcycle is a true product stewardship model where everyone involved in the life cycle of a product, including the consumer, has a role to play.

Soft plastic bags are a great scourge on our environment, ending up in our waterways and oceans. Alternatively, they are dumped in landfill or transported overseas to be dealt with there (that's another story!).  Recycling plastic bags not only helps reduce the pollution, but it also reduces the need to use precious resources to make virgin plastic.

What types of flexible plastic bags can be recycled?

  • ✓ Bread bags
  • ✓ Biscuit packets
  • ✓ Frozen food bags
  • ✓ Rice and pasta Bags
  • ✓ Confectionery packets
  • ✓ Cereal Box Liners
  • ✓ Newspaper wrap
  • ✓ Plastic shopping bags
  • ✓ Old green bags

Find more info here about Redcycle, an initiative of  Melbourne based consulting and recycling organisation Red Group.

Greenie fact
According to Clean Up Australia, Australians are sending 429,000 soft plastic bags to landfill every hour.  That seems an incredible number!

Author & Editor

Tracey Bailey is the founder of Biome Eco Stores and mother of two. After working in corporate communications and starting a family, she made a choice to be part of the solution to our planet's future and started Biome Eco Stores. Tracey is passionate about educating the community about living eco-friendly and sustainable lives through her extended product, chemical, health and environmental knowledge.


Nathalie said...

I've been storing all mine for over a year now, waiting for my next roadtrip down south. Still don't have this facility up north unfortunately :-/

Sharolyn said...

Great news. Thanks for keeping us informed on this. We should certainly still avoid buying these products wherever possible, but I am pleased Coles are a part of this initiative. I always wonder what happens to recycling when the wrong things are put in the yellow lidded wheelie bin. I read recently that a whole batch can be sent to landfill. I'd be fascinated to know more about how serious contamination in this respect is if you have any inside info. Thanks. Keep up the good work.

Vanessa said...

This is awesome news! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm going to start saving mine starting right now!

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