The Difference between Hard & Soft Plastics

The trick to recycling right is knowing the difference between hard and soft plastics. It’s important to know that hard plastics go into your yellow-lidded recycling bin and soft plastics go into your red-lidded general waste bin.

Hard plastics are processed at your local MRF (Materials Recovery Facility), these products are then turned into recycled products. Click HERE for what your recycling can be recycled into.

Unfortunately, soft plastics are unable to be processed at your local MRF, however for those “keen” recyclers you are able to drop them off at the REDcycle bins in your local area, otherwise they must go into your red-lidded general waste bin. Click HERE for more info on REDcycle.

Challenge yourself to reduce your use of plastic click HERE to see 9 tips to living plastic free.


1. Soft plastics – Some plastics look firm but are actually classed as a soft plastic and cannot be recycled in your yellow-lidded recycling bin, into the red-lidded general waste bin or REDcycle for these items.

2. Hard plastics – These are commonly found around the home, if plastic is moulded or hard and is a household item it goes in the yellow-lidded recycling bin.


3. Scrunch test – The easy way to tell if plastic is soft or hard is the scrunch test. If it scrunches into a ball it’s soft, if it holds it’s shape it’s hard.


4. Separating combination packaging – Some household products are packaged with a combination of hard and soft plastics and even cardboard. It is important to separate into the appropriate bins.



5. Hard Plastics Items – Can be found all around your household, including your bathroom and laundry.  The above items are examples of laundry items that go into your yellow-lidded recycling bin. 


6. Recycle symbols can be confusing – Some indicate the packaging is recyclable or made from recycled plastic while others identify the type of plastic the packaging is made from. It’s important to remember that not all plastics which have a symbol on them are recyclable in your yellow-lidded recycle bin. 

TOP