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How To Recycle Soft Plastics

How To Recycle Soft Plastics - Green Skye

Maybe you have noticed soft plastic recycling bins at the supermarket and have been interested in taking part but not quite sure how it works? Hopefully by reading this, you will learn what you can recycle, how to collect it and what is done with it once you’ve put it in the collection.

First of all you can use this link Plastic bags and wrapping | Recycle Now to see where your local soft plastic recycling facilities are located and which items they take and then it’s time to start collecting! I have found it easiest to take an old plastic shopping bag and hang it up. That way, whenever you have soft plastic to dispose of, you can simply put it into the bag and once filled, knot the top and put the whole thing into the collection box. Easy!

The plastic you recycle should be clean of food so if needed, give it a rinse first. Also try to pull off paper labels where possible and make sure none of the materials have written ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ as they can cause quality issues in the recycled plastic. Some plastic bags may state ‘not yet recycled’ but ignore this. It is a relatively new scheme and some packaging is older and has not caught up.

Free Plastic Bags on the Floor Stock Photo

So, what can be recycled?

  • Plastic bags
  • Bread bags
  • Cereal liner bags
  • Delivery bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Frozen food bags
  • Magazine and newspaper wrapping
  • Fruit and vegetable nets
  • Coffee pouches
  • Toilet roll wrapping

Many places also recycle these items but check with the link Plastic bags and wrapping | Recycle Now

  • Baby, pet and cleaning pouches
  • Biscuit and chocolate wrapping
  • Cheese, fish and meat wrapping
  • Cling film
  • Crisp and sweet bags
  • Film lids
  • Bubble wrap
  • Salad, rice and pasta bags


It is also worth checking if your local recycling collects soft plastics as 18% of councils in the UK do.

If you decide to start recycling your soft plastic, you can really help to make a big change. As soft plastics can’t generally be recycled conventionally (as they get stuck in the machines) They either get incinerated, releasing toxic chemical or end up in landfill where they often get blown from the piles and end up back in the community or the countryside and leach microplastics into the soil. It is much better if they are recycled and turned into something new.

It is also important to bear in mind that although you should recycle any plastic you need to dispose of, reducing and reusing are far more important when it comes to protecting our planet and reducing our global plastic consumption. When Tesco first began to roll out the soft plastic scheme, they collected 10X more plastic than expected, proving peoples desire to do their part. Hopefully, in the next few years, soft plastic recycling will become just as easy and convenient as recycling any other plastic.

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