You are probably a pretty good home recycler. All your used plastic soft drink and milk bottles, steel and aluminium cans, paper and cardboard go into your recycling bin.

That’s great. But most council collection services don’t take plastic bags and so called “soft plastic” packaging. It’s not so much of a problem of recycling as one of collection and sorting. The result, according to RED Group, is that Australians dump over 7,000 recyclable plastic bags into landfill every minute!

A simple solution

Part of the solution is to take reusable “green” bags on your shopping trips, to reduce your overall bag use. But that still leaves fruit and vegie bags plus a lot of product packaging to be dealt with. And what do you do with your green bags when they finally wear out?

Most supermarkets have collection bins through which plastic bags can be recycled, though in many cases these appear to be limited to disposable carry bags and fruit and vegie bags.

Coles, on the other hand, accept a wide range of soft plastics in their collection bins, including old green bags.

So now there’s no excuse. Just start a collection of all the plastic bags you can’t reuse, green bags, bread bags and the plastic bags from your cereal boxes. Add in rice and pasta packets, biscuit packaging, frozen food bags and even the plastic wrap off your morning newspaper. Bundle them up tightly inside a plastic bag and drop them in the bin at your local Coles supermarket.

Then what?

The contents of the collection bins are sent to Replas, a company featured on The Switch Report in April 2012. Replas turn the mixed plastic into outdoor furniture for primary schools and pre-schools. The initial 12 month pilot program in Melbourne collected 37 tonnes of material.

With such a simple solution to plastic and green bag recycling close at hand, there’s really no excuse. Try it, and you’ll notice quite a reduction in the amount of soft plastic going into your rubbish bin.