We have some exciting news about a local soft plastics recycling pilot.

The pilot is in partnership with Australian Food, Grocery Council and local partners Cleanaway, funded by the Australian Government.

As part of your council’s commitment to support our community to reduce waste and recycle more, 2000 properties in Albury and Wodonga councils participate in soft plastic packaging recycling through their regular yellow lidded recycling service.

Thanks to all the households who participated in the pilot. In mid April we sent 4 bales of soft plastics to Melbourne to be recycled (over 2.3 tonnes collected!)

If you are an already participating resident you can continue to collect soft plastics for recycling. More orange bags are available from council customer services and Lavington library.

Soft Plastics Recycling Frequently Asked Questions

Q. We are a participating household, what do we need to do?

A. If your household has participated in the pilot you are welcome to continue using the soft plastics recycling orange bags.

  1. Fill the orange bag with  soft plastic packaging.  When it’s full like a pillow, close it securely like a post pack.
  2. Put the full orange bag in your recycling bin (yellow lid) on your regular collection day.
  3. Keep all other recyclables in your recycling bin loose (not bagged) as usual.
  4. You can obtain more collection packs from your council customer services and Lavington library.

Q. Is this free?

A. With thanks to the National Food and Grocery Council, Halve Waste, AlburyCity and Wodonga councils, Cleanaway and the soft plastics recycling industry this pilot is provided at no cost to participating households.  The pilot period will help all the partners understand how to collect, process and costs involved in recycling soft plastics through our yellow lidded bins. 

Q. Why are you running a soft plastics recycling trial?

A. We know soft plastics appear with all sorts of products and so much of it ends up in landfill. This pilot is important because until now we have been unable to recycle soft plastic through your kerbside recycling bin. Loose soft plastics jam up equipment in the collection truck and recycling centre, and too easily become litter or end up in landfill.

Driven by Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing industry, the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS) will be Australia’s largest industry-led plastics recycling scheme, taking hard-to-recycle soft plastic packaging out of the waste stream and giving it new life.

As a true circular economy model, the NPRS makes it easier for people to recycle soft plastics at home and supports the development of a new, advanced recycling industry here in Australia to take that packaging and turn it back into new material, ready for reuse.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council is developing the NPRS with funding support from the Australian Federal Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund.

Q. How are the soft plastics being recycled?

A. We can sort the bags at the recycling centre, send them to a plastics reprocessor for cleaning and treatment to then go to make new plastic products. This way we all help reduce virgin plastics, waste to landfill, emissions and litter.

Q. What do the bags look like?

A. The bags are like large ‘post pack mailing satchels that you fill with household soft plastic packaging.  When the bag is full like a pillow, seal the bag like you would with a post pack (remove the cover over the sticky strip and fold over the tab to seal the contents.  Add full orange bags to your yellow lidded recycling bin on your regular collection days.

Q. I didn’t get a pack, can our household participate?

A. Yes – If you are in Albury or Wodonga and your bins are collected on a MONDAY (Thurgoona and central Wodonga) you can collect a pack from council offices, Lavington library or get in touch with our team to find out more.

For all other areas we are working with the AFGC to expand the pilot in 2024 so stay tuned for more updates!

Q. What about the REDcycle soft plastics recycling scheme?

A. This program is not connected to the REDcycle store drop-off scheme. The plastics collected will go for processing at an advanced recycling centre in Victoria through a different process to be recycled back into soft plastics.

Q. How do I check what to put in my special recycling bag?

A. Soft plastic packaging that displays the Australian Recycling Label (ARL) “Return To Store” or “In-store Drop-off” logo. You can learn more here.

Tip: Use the “scrunch” test as a guide – soft plastics tend to stay scrunched in a ball, hard plastics go back to their shape or can’t be scrunched.

Q. What if I run out of bags?

A. Replacement packs of bags for residents participating in the pilot can be picked up from your council office and Lavington Library.

Q. We are always told not to bag our recycling items or add soft plastics to our recycling bins, why are you asking residents to collect soft plastics in a bag?

A. That is correct, loose soft plastics and bagged recyclable items get caught around recycling machinery and prove difficult to understand what is in your recycling bin, which is why we always ask our residents to not bag recyclable items normally.

The orange pilot bags have been provided specifically to be easy to identify and if filled and sealed correctly, avoid getting caught in machinery and will be easy to separate from other recyclable items.

Its very important to keep all other items in your yellow lidded recycling bin loose (not bagged) as you usually do.

Q. My Recycling Bin is already full, how do I fit the sachet in?

A. You can contact your local Council for options to upsize or add an additional Yellow-Lidded Recycling Bin.

Q. Do I keep using the orange bags past the pilot period?

A. Yes – you can keep filling any orange bags and adding to your regular yellow lidded recycling bins until you use them all up.

Q. Did we answer your questions?

Please forward any further questions to [email protected]

The Halve Waste team thank you for your support. In partnership with AlburyCity and Wodonga Councils and the Australian Food and Grocery Council.


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