The Plastics Breakdown - What You Can and Can’t Recycle

The Plastics Breakdown - What You Can and Can’t Recycle

By Lottie Dalziel

Most people are more confused than ever when it comes to what we can and can't recycle. We get it, it can sometimes be a bit like a guessing game and for good reason. Each council has different rules and guidelines and even between brands recycling differs between products. As much good as us feel good recyclers want to do unfortunately sometimes we're doing more harm than good. 

"Feel good recyclers" are those who put something in the recycling bin with the hope that it will get recycled without knowing if it actually will.

Not many people realise but all plastic products are stamped with a Plastics Identification Code which helps identify the type of resin used and therefore how you can recycle it.


Now before you get carried away trying to memorise each acronym and what to do with it we have a far simpler solution for you.

In most cases, plastics with a 1, 2 or 3 stamp can be thwon straight in your recycling bin. When it comes to 4-7 they're on the maybe list so you’ll need to check in with your local council for more information. If in doubt we'd recommend popping your rubbish in your landfill bin.

Soft Plastics

As its name suggests this is a way to recycle the plastics we can’t throw in the recycling think items like garbage bags, clean cling wrap, biscuit packets and lolly wrappers. Collect these at home and drop them off in your redcycle soft plastics bin at the front of your local Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.

When it comes to recycling do the "scrunch test" if you can scrunch the plastic into a ball, chances are it can be soft plastic recycled. Some common household products than can go in there include:

  • Bread bags
  • Biscuit wrappers
  • Pasta and rice bags
  • Frozen food and veggie backs
  • Plastic bags

You can see the full list here.

For our household, separating our compostable waste and our soft plastic waste reduced our red bin was by over 70%.

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