Plastic recycling rules

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What types of plastic can I recycle in my kerbside bin?

Understanding what types of plastic can go into your recycling is very important.

Soft plastics and plastic bags cannot be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin.

In fact, these types of soft plastics are the number one source of contamination across Maribyrnong and Victoria.

That is why your recycling should always be emptied loose into the bin, not placed in bags, which get tangled in the recycling machinery.

How to tell if a plastic item can be recycled - the scrunch test

Recycling collected in Maribyrnong is processed by VISY, who accept all rigid plastic containers. Rather than using the plastic codes, VISY prefer residents to use the scrunch test to tell if a plastic is hard, and can be recycled, or is soft, and needs to be kept out of your kerbside recycling bin.

If the item is made of soft plastic (like a shopping bag, a bread package, a pet food bag, or a postal satchel) then it can easily be scrunched and will not return to its original shape.

These types of soft plastic should be kept out of the recycling bin. However, you can collect these and drop them in to a supermarket RedCycle soft plastic recycling hub instead. You can find your closest soft plastic recycling hub via the link below.

Hard plastics which can hold their shape when scrunched (like plastic containers, yoghurt punnets or biscuit trays) can go into the recycling.

What about plastic codes?

In the past, recycling processors would use the plastic codes to tell if an item could be recycled. However, in recent years and with new products on the market, there has been a lot confusion around the plastic codes. These codes are now used more for notifying manufacturers of what type of plastic the item is made from.

As a general rule, hard plastic items which have the codes 1-7 can be recycled in your kerbside bin, however plastic polystyrene packaging (code 6) which often comes in packing boxes, like TVs or equipment, cannot be recycled in your kerbside bin. This packaging breaks down into tiny plastic balls which can contaminate and get lost in the recycling machinery.

Instead of putting this in your general waste bin, expanded polystyrene can be taken to the Moonee Valley Transfer Station, who accept and recycle this material at no charge.

How to cut down on plastic

There are a lot of items that you can use to reduce the amount of plastic in your daily life. Try replacing your takeaway coffees with a reusable keep cup, consider using beeswax wraps, instead of cling wrap to store your food, invest in a reusable water bottle, and ask your cafe not to give you a straw, or consider bringing your own reusable straw instead.

If you are looking to reduce your plastic use, why not try the Plastic Free Challenge? You can find out more about the program via the link below.