Soft Plastics: Not in the yellow-lid bin

 Soft plastics at a waste management facility.

Soft plastics at a waste management facility.

Kerbside yellow-lid bins collect a range of recyclable items including plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles and jars, steel and aluminium cans, clean paper and cardboard.

These items go to a materials recovery facility where machines and people sort them before further processing. Contamination of the yellow-lid recycling bin occurs when residents include items that are not recycled by this kerbside service.

One of the problem contaminants of the yellow-lid bin is plastic bags and other soft plastics.

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Soft plastics include items like bread bags, dog food bags, pasta packets, bubble wrap and reusable plastic shopping bags all of which are not recycled via the yellow-lid bin service.

Plastic bags also get tangled in the recycling sorting machines and increase the time and cost to sort yellow-lid bin recycling. These problems also occur when residents put their recycling in plastic bags.

Narromine Shire Council's General Manager Jane Redden said plastic bags, soft plastic packaging and bagged recycling are some of the biggest problems we see coming through the yellow-lid bin.

"What each resident puts in their kerbside bin matters. It only takes a second to put waste into the correct bin and saves us a lot of time and cost down the line," she said. 

Soft plastic waste belongs in the red-lid landfill bin.

Alternatively, there is a program running in Australia that recycles a limited quantity of plastic bags and other soft plastic packaging into outdoor furniture and signage.

The REDcycle program works with participating Coles and Woolworths supermarkets to help residents divert their soft plastics from landfill. For more information and to find participating drop-off locations, visit www.redcycle.net.au.

Residents are encouraged to check what is accepted in kerbside bins by visiting the council's website, or to contact the council if they are unsure of certain items.