Wingecarribee Shire Council Launches Soft Plastic Recycling Trial at Community Recycling Centre

Wingecarribee Shire

A new soft plastic recycling trial is about to get underway at Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Moss Vale Community Recycling Centre. The initiative will kick off on 1 April 2024 and continue through to June 2025, to provide residents with a convenient and sustainable solution for recycling their soft plastic waste. If successful, it’s hoped the service will become permanent.

Soft plastics, including plastic bags, wraps, and packaging materials, are commonly used in households and often end up as landfill, contributing to environmental pollution. The introduction of soft plastic recycling at the Community Recycling Centre will enable residents to now have an accessible way to divert these materials from the waste stream and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Clinton McAlister, Manager Waste and Resource Management says Council is thrilled to introduce this important program, which proved a huge success after a recent trial run by Hornsby Shire Council. He said it’s a win-win for the community and the environment.

“Recycling soft plastics significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to producing new plastics from raw materials. This not only conserves energy but also contributes to mitigating climate change,” said Clinton McAlister.

“Through soft plastic recycling, we’re preventing these materials from ending up in landfills, where they would take hundreds of years to decompose, releasing harmful chemicals in the process. This helps protect soil and water quality,” he added.

From biscuit packaging, bread bags, bubble wrap, and cereal box liners, the Community Recycling Centre will accept all sorts of soft plastics. It will even accept confectionery packaging, fresh produce bags, frozen food bags, plastic film, plastic sachets, shopping and grocery bags, silver-lined chip bags, squeeze pouches, sturdy pet food bags, and zip-lock bags.

Residents are encouraged to visit the Community Recycling Centre during operating hours to drop off their clean and dry soft plastics for recycling. It’s essential to note that the program does not accept biodegradable/compostable plastics, drinking straws, rigid plastic containers, or laminated materials.

Soft plastics collected at the Community Recycling Centre will be baled onsite and transported directly to APR Plastics in Victoria for processing. At APR Plastics, the soft plastics are shredded and then fed into the Biofabrik WASTX pyrolysis machine. This innovative process converts the plastics into feedstock oil, which is subsequently sent to VIVA Energy’s Geelong refinery for further processing into resin. This resin facilitates the transformation of the material back into food-grade plastic packaging, completing the recycling loop.

Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Waste Education Projects and Policy Officer Alyssa Vilar said it’s vital we all dispose of our soft plastics in a responsible manner, not just for our lifetimes, but for the generations that follow.

“By recycling soft plastics, we’re conserving valuable resources such as petroleum, which is a primary component of plastic production. This reduces the strain on natural resources and helps preserve ecosystems,” said Alyssa.

“Soft plastic recycling plays a crucial role in reducing marine pollution. These materials, if not properly disposed of, often end up in oceans, endangering marine life. Recycling helps prevent this environmental hazard.”

The initiative also aligns with Wingecarribee Shire Council’s commitment to long-term sustainability.

“Through our soft plastic recycling initiative, we’re promoting a circular economy where materials are reused and recycled, reducing the need for virgin resources and minimizing waste generation. This fosters long-term sustainability,” said Alyssa Villar.

Council hopes positive and successful outcomes from the trial, measured in feedback, tonnes of plastic collected, and contamination rates, will enable the ongoing continuation of the program.

To dispose of your soft plastics, visit the Community Recycling Centre:

Community Recycling Centre

Resource Recovery Centre

177 Berrima Road Moss Vale

Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday 7.00am to 4.00pm and Sundays 7.30am to 1.00pm

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