Producing plastics from recycled materials saves approximately 88% of the energy required to make plastic from the raw materials of oil and gas. The energy saved by recycling one plastic drink bottle would power a computer for 25 minutes.
Recycle your household plastic to:
Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce the amount of plastic you need to recycle wherever possible:
Your kerbside recycling bin is primarily for hard plastics, including:
Don't forget to:
* This includes the spongy black foam trays often used for meat packaging, some takeaway containers and hot drink cups. Contact your local council to find out how to recycle polystyrene.
Please note: some councils that do accept plastic bags in their kerbside recycling. Find out about recycling near you.
Soft plastics – the kind that can be scrunched into a ball – are among the biggest problems in the kerbside recycling system, as they get caught in the recycling machinery. The good news is these plastics can be recycled at many supermarkets through the REDcycle program. The plastic is made into furniture for schools and kindergartens among other things.
A good way to remember to recycle these plastics is to put them straight into your reusable shopping bag. Below is a list of some of the soft plastics that you can recycle. For a full list visit the REDcycle website.
Don't be tricked! A triangle with a number (1 to 7) inside stamped on a plastic container or bottle is part of the Resin Identification Code.
This code identifies the type of resin the plastic product is made from, not whether it can be recycled. Hard plastics coded 1–7 can be recycled in the yellow lidded recycling bin except for polystyrene and plastic bags. People often confuse the 'resin identification code' for the general recycling symbol (mobius loop), which involves three chasing arrows.
Twenty million Australians still use over 3.9 billion plastic checkout bags a year. That's 10 million per day! Plastic bags are responsible for the deaths of many marine and terrestrial animals, and can take between 15 and 1,000 years to break down in the environment.
Recycled plastic items are initially sorted into different types of plastic.
The plastic is ground into chips or flakes and washed to remove labels or residue.
The plastic is then dried, melted and formed into pellets, which can be used to manufacture new products such as artificial fleece, carpeting, floor mats, tiles, furniture, motor oil, plant pots, garden furniture, detergent bottles and pipes.