Soft plastics are flexible plastics that can be easily scrunched into a ball, such as plastic bags, chip packets, bread bags, mail satchels and cling wrap.
Despite its prolific use, only about 6% of soft plastic waste is recycled in Australia. The rest ends up in landfill or is littered into the environment, releasing toxins in our waterways and harming wildlife such as birds, turtles and whales.
Soft plastic can't be mixed with other household recycling (such as bottles and containers) in your yellow-lid bin, due to the problems it causes during processing at the materials recovery facility. This includes getting tangled in and jamming the sorting machines, or being mistaken by the machinery as paper and consequently contaminating the paper recycling stream.
Fortunately, there are several free and convenient options available to recycle clean, household soft plastics.
Curby Soft Plastics Program
The Curby Soft Plastics Program gives Newcastle households the opportunity to recycle their soft plastics from home.
The program works by containing soft plastics in specially tagged bags that you can place in your kerbside yellow-lid bin, which can be easily filtered from the other households recyclables when they arrive at the sorting facility.
All that you need to participate in the free program is access to a smart phone.
To join, simply download the Curby app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Once registered, you'll be sent special yellow "CurbyTags" that you can attach to bagged clean, household soft plastics*. When you've filled a bag, simply tie it shut, attach and scan a CurbyTag, and place it in your yellow-lid bin for regular fortnightly collection. It's that easy!
To learn more about the program, please visit the Curby website.
*Please note: Soft plastics must be collected inside shopping-bag sized plastic bags with handles. The bag must be able to tie a double knot to enclose the contents.
The REDcycle Program makes it easy for you to recycle plastic bags and other soft plastic packaging when you visit participating supermarkets, such as Coles and Woolworths.
Full details about the program, including drop-off locations and accepted products, are available on the REDcycle website.
Sort & Save
Newcastle households can drop off clean, soft plastics for recycling at Summerhill Waste Management Centre, at no charge, as part of our Sort & Save service. Terms and conditions apply.
Our Sort & Save (PDF 885kB) flyer provides an overview of the service, including other recyclable materials you can drop off during your visit.