REDcycle your soft plastics | ourballarat Spring 2021

Municipalities and waste processing facilities across the state are facing a soft plastics crisis with soft plastics contaminating kerbside recycling collections. Don’t bin your soft plastics – our yellow lid recycling bins are a ‘No bag zone’. Instead, place your soft plastics in the REDcycle bin at your local supermarket.

Ava and Chrissy Webster sort through their plastics at home before REDcycling their soft plastics at their nearby supermarket

For Ballarat resident, Chrissy Webster and her family, not doing anything to reduce their environmental footprint was no longer an option.

“I was feeling overwhelmed about the climate crisis and started doing things at home and reducing our waste footprint a few years ago,” she says.

“We started it incrementally – it was soft plastics that started it all for us. Our bin used to be full but now it’s usually only a quarter full. We have become much better at recycling and separating out soft plastics from our recycling.”

Chrissy is studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental and Conservation Science at FedUni.

Through her studies, Chrissy has learnt about the importance of proper recycling for the future of our planet.

“It started when we watched a show called War On Waste and from that I wanted to have a look through our own bin. I couldn’t believe how much of it was soft plastic,” she says.

“I want to educate people about the things I am learning about. I feel like we take much from the planet and we are so disconnected from what we do to the planet.”

Soft plastics is the largest contaminate for recycling processing plants in both Ballarat and right across Victoria. 

When soft plastics, such as bread bags, shopping bags and food packaging, are disposed of in kerbside recycling bins, they are at risk of getting caught and jamming the machines that process items useful for recycling.

The increased cost of fixing these machines, the delays in the processing times or soft plastics being manually removed from the rest of the recyclable items is a mounting and expanding issue for local government and processing facilities.

However, households can do their bit to help the efficient processing of recycling which will lead to a reduced community environmental footprint.

The City of Ballarat is encouraging the community to re-think their soft plastics and plastic bag disposal habits as part of our ‘No bag zone’ campaign.

Plastic bags and soft plastics should ideally be collected and deposited at collection points in supermarkets where they can be reused or recycled for other projects and kept out of landfill entirely.

Chrissy says it’s easy to get started. 

“It’s about creating that awareness that we can all make that positive change – it’s not hard, new doesn’t mean hard. We started with soft plastics which were the bulk of our rubbish,” she says.

“My advice is to pick five things you want to swap out, things like cloth bags, straws, plastic cutlery and so on.

“Once that is done, you can start doing more like buying in bulk and buying less. Before you know it, it becomes second nature to make these environmentally-friendly decisions.”

What can I REDcycle?

If it’s soft plastic and can be scrunched into a ball, it can be placed in a REDcycle drop-off bin.

You can REDcycle bread bags, biscuit packets (wrapper only, not the biscuit trays), paper goods packaging, pasta and rice bags, frozen food and veggie bags, confectionery bags, silver-lined chip packets, plastic bags, old green bags and cereal box liners. 

The REDcycle program is available at major supermarkets. For your nearest drop-off point.

City of Ballarat Budget 2021/2022

The City of Ballarat will spend $4 million on waste service upgrades, including a new cell at the Ballarat Regional Landfill.

For more information view the City of Ballarat Budget 2021/2022.