Soft Plastic Recycling is Back!

Soft Plastic Recycling is Back!

After the closure of Australia's largest soft plastic recycling programme, REDcycle, in late 2022, a small but powerful initiative is starting up in participating Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores! Currently in only 12 Melbourne supermarkets, this new soft plastic trial is offering customers an in-store solution for recycling those pesky wrappers.


Why do we need soft plastic recycling?

According to the National Plastics Plan summary, Australia consumes more than 70 billion pieces of soft plastic every year, with a large portion of that being disposed of in landfills or left as litter on streets and aquatic bodies, posing a serious environmental risk. We can do better! While the trial may seem narrow in scope, it marks a positive start in addressing this pressing issue.
Heading up this new trial is the Soft Plastics Taskforce in Australia, a collaborative effort with major supermarket chains Woolworths, Coles, and Aldi. Established following the closure of REDcycle, the task force is spearheaded by the federal government's Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water.
soft plastic rubbish

What will the soft plastic come back as?

Similar to REDcycle, the current small-scale trial in Victoria has identified several potential end markets for recycled soft plastics. This material could be used as an additive in asphalt roads, a replacement for aggregate in concrete, or even in making shopping trolleys and baskets. 
Recycling soft plastic packaging comes with its own set of hurdles. Typically crafted from polyethylene or polypropylene, these materials often contain a mix of plastics and additives, complicating the recycling process. Plus, their absorbent nature means they easily soak up food residues and other substances, making disposal trickier due to contamination.

What counts as soft plastic?

To determine what can and can't be recycled as soft plastic, check for store return instructions on the packaging or conduct a simple scrunch test. If the item bounces back to its original shape, it's likely suitable for kerbside recycling. However, if it maintains its shape when scrunched, it's usually suitable for soft plastic recycling. Ensure soft plastics returned to the store are empty and dry.
You can also always check the back of the product, it should have one of these symbols on if it's accepted for soft plastic recycling:

How can I start collecting my soft plastics?

We can help! Check out our soft plastic range of Ecobins here: Soft Plastic Range
We even have matching posters for added guidance on what can and can't be recycled. Our bins are made from recycled polypropylene here in Melbourne. We try our best to product the most sustainable product we can so that you’re sustainable before you’ve even begun!

Where can I drop off my soft plastics for recycling?

Here are the participating stores:







Box Hill


St Kilda

Burwood Brickworks



Carnegie North



Hawthorn East

Moonee Ponds



What if I don’t live in Melbourne?

When your soft plastic bin is ready for emptying, rest assured there are multiple avenues for proper recycling. Planet Ark have an incredible collection of resources you can check out, or reach out to your local council to see if there are any initiatives happening in your area!
Ecobin also partners with our friends at RecycleSmart, who offer collections of soft plastic and other difficult to recycle things (depending on where you’re located) check them out: RecycleSmart
Keep in mind, that recycling alone isn't the solution. The key is to cut down on consumption. When you do use soft plastic, please ensure to dispose of it responsibly and recycle it. You’ve got this!
Lots of love,
Ecobin Trashtalkers
Back to blog