Can soft plastics be recycled?
However hard you try it can be very hard to eliminate soft plastics from your life completely. I often get asked if soft plastics can be recycled and where to take them.
Soft plastics are something that councils don’t usually take at the kerbside. Until recently there wasn’t anywhere you could take them or, if you could, the drop off point would only take certain types of soft plastic.
What is a soft plastic? If you scrunch up a plastic and it pings back, it is likely to be a soft plastic. Some items you might not have thought of as soft plastics are in this category and are therefore unlikely to be recycled by your council for example: plastic film lids on yoghurt pots, soft fruit punnets and ready meals, as well as plastic crisp packets, pasta bags and chocolate or biscuit wrappers.
Where can you recycle soft plastics?
- Supermarkets – While I’m not advertising any of the supermarkets or suggesting their green credentials are anywhere near where they should be, a few of them are now taking in soft plastics and recycling them. Tesco and co-op are now rolling this out to many stores around the country. You may want to save up all your soft plastics in a large bag for your big trip to Tesco, or take a few bits when you pop to your local co-op. See more info on their websites: Tesco Co-op
- Terracycle is a recycling company that teams up with brands to collect and recycle specific items that are usually hard to recycle such as crisp packets, toothbrushes or cheese packets. Anyone can sign up to be a drop off point for the items. Collectors get points which eventually get turned into cash for local charities. The recycled plastic is turned into plastic pellets – used to make items such as furniture.
- Nom wholefoods is a collector of cheese wrappers and mini babybel packaging through Terracycle. So do save them up and give them to us on your next delivery.
Reusing soft plastics
Before you recycle them, don’t forget you could reuse your plastic bags. For example:
- Bread bags and resealable frozen food bags are useful for storing leftovers in the freezer.
- You could use the bags to organise your kids craft box or any other unruly drawer or cupboard!
- If you buy your fruit/veg loose, store it in the fridge in a bag with a piece of kitchen roll paper and it keeps fresh much much longer thus reducing your food waste.
How can I reduce how much soft plastic I have?
Here are some ways you can reduce the soft plastic in your life:
- Invest in a bread maker to reduce bread bags.
- Fruit & Veg: Use a local veg box scheme, or buy from a grocer, or buy loose from a supermarket when you can.
- Visit a refill shop for your dry foods and refilling household liquids.
- Use Tupperware, beeswax wraps, or foil (easily recycled) instead of cling film. Note that foil uses a lot of energy to be made.