Soft Plastic Recycling

Cleanaway can provide businesses with large amounts of soft plastic waste with a tailored collection, disposal, and recycling service. Individuals, households and businesses that do not produce enough soft plastic for a dedicated service can take them to major supermarkets to be recycled.


How can you tell soft plastic from rigid?

Plastics are broadly divided into two categories – rigid and soft. Cleanaway collects most rigid plastics for recycling through our commingled recycling service. This includes common items such as bottles, milk and food containers.


Soft or flexible plastics are any plastics that can be scrunched into a ball or broken by hand, and includes business packaging waste such as shrink wrap, bubble wrap or large plastic bags. 


Soft plastic is not recyclable in a commingled bin and is considered contamination. Soft plastic like cling film and plastic bags can cause significant damage to conveyors and machinery at Material Recovery Facilities.


Households and businesses looking to dispose of small amounts of soft plastics can look for major supermarkets with a collection point for plastic bags and other soft plastic materials.


To minimise the impact of soft plastic waste, it’s a good idea to avoid single-use plastic wherever possible, use reusable bags and containers, and choose suppliers or products with sustainable packaging materials.


Download our plastics recycling fact sheet to learn more about the various types of plastic.


Soft plastic packaging recycling for eligible businesses

For businesses with large amounts of soft plastic waste, ask your account manager about a tailored recycling service that collects pallet wrap, shrink film and other plastic packaging in a dedicated bin.


Plastic waste collected by Cleanaway is sorted, baled and sent to recycling plants for washing and shredding. The shredded plastics are then sorted using a floatation process.


Once sorted, the waste is turned into pellets and powder. These are sent to manufacturers to be moulded and cast into new plastic products and packaging. The recycled plastic may be turned into new containers, wheelie bins, guideposts and even irrigation pipes.



Types of recyclable plastic packaging waste

Cleanaway recycles most common types of soft plastic packaging including:

  • LDPE (low-density polyethylene)
    LDPE is a very versatile plastic. In packaging, it is used primarily as a wrap such as pallet wrap, shrink wrap and stretch wrap. Used industrial plastic wraps are used as a raw material in various industries, including but not limited to construction and food packaging.


  • EPS and polystyrene
    Cleanaway collects polystyrene and EPS (expanded polystyrene) packing materials in special skip bins to prevent damage while in transit. These materials are also known as packing foam or foam peanuts. Polystyrene packaging disposal technology now lets us recycle and turn them into new products. They are turned into feedstock for synthetic timber, stationery and other items. Here’s an example of how Cleanaway can help you divert your polystyrene packaging waste from the landfill:


Get in touch today to learn more about our soft plastic packaging disposal, collection and recycling solutions.