Often there is a little triangle with a number stamped or printed onto plastic products. This is the Plastics Identification Code (PIC) and it tells you the type of plastic used to make a product.
The triangle looks a bit like a recycling symbol and so it’s easy to think that anything with a PIC can be recycled, and technically they can, just not always through your kerbside recycling bin.
As a general rule, don’t put soft plastics in your kerbside recycling bin.
Only hard plastics that can’t be ‘scrunched’ such as plastic bottles, plastic jars, plastic plates etc can be recycled through your kerbside service.
Be a good sort and keep these out of your kerbside recycling bin:
Plastic shopping bags, Cling wrap, Plastic bread bags, Chip packets, Bubble wrap, Cereal bags, Plastic foil food bags, and Zip-lock bags. Soft plastic polystyrene and foam meat trays can also NOT be recycled in your kerbside bin.
So what can be done with soft plastics?
Most major supermarkets have collection points for plastic bags and other soft plastic materials, recycled via the REDCycle program. It’s also a good idea to reuse bags as many times as possible by taking them with you when you go shopping.
Some charity shops also appreciate a donation of plastic bags to use when distributing goods or when selling items in their stores.
Waste silage wrap plastic can be safely disposed at the Sheffield Waste Transfer Station. In Northern Tasmania there is a soft plastic recycler, Envorinex, contact them to find out what materials they are currently accepting.
Want to know more about plastics and the PIC? Check out the Rethink Waste Plastics Identification Code fact sheet.
Another handy resource is the A-Z Guide of Recycling and Waste, which lets you know how to manage different waste products, from aerosol cans to yoghurt containers and everything in between!