UPDATE: Plastic recycling at Coles

recycling soft plastic

Some of you have been asking about the Coles soft-plastic recycling program (which you can read about here) and what can and can’t go in the box. I contacted RedGroup and have listed some answers below. I’d love to find out even more, so if you have any questions about how it works or what can be recycled, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

What can I recycle?
The rule of thumb is this: if you can scrunch it in your hands, it can go in the collection boxes found at most Coles supermarkets. That means pasta packets, frozen-pea bags, the outer wrap on toys and clothing, that kind of thing. Bear in mind that some of these plastics now bear the recycling symbol, so check first. If it doesn’t have a number that your council collects, you can take it up to Coles and REDcycle will sort it out to be make into playground furniture. Awesome.
Plastic that you can’t scrunch up generally goes in your kerbside recycling bin.

What about foil chip packets? [UPDATED] The inner bag of things like corn/rice thins and boxed savoury biscuits, and the outer packaging of rice crackers, such as Sakata, or chips CAN be recycled by the REDcycle Program so do take them along with your clear plastics.

Can I recycle resealable packaging?
Plastic cereal or rice bags that come with a handy (in my opinion wasteful) ziplock seal that never works that well CAN be recycled through the Coles/REDcycle program. You can also put plastic wraps with paper labels attached in the bins.

Can I recycle baby food pouches?
I contacted Rafferty’s Garden about this and they said  both the spout and the plastic is recyclable, but you’ll need to separate them first and check that your council recycles some soft plastics. I snip the spout out of squeezey yoghurts or baby foods, and throw it in the kerbside box, the pouch itself goes into the bag to take up to Coles.

How can I recycle plastic shopping bags?
Take them to Coles! REDcycle will accept the thick “green bags” or single-use bags that I know you don’t use :)

The picture above is one month’s worth of plastic packaging that my family diverted from landfill. When I took it up to my local Coles people stopped and stared as Alfie and I stuffed it into the bin. The bin was located right next to the busiest checkout, so hopefully a few people thought twice about recycling plastic that night.

If you have any further questions, please let me know and I’ll report back. The success of this program really comes down to us as consumers, so use it and use it well!



  1. sf says

    Woolies has a similar option – plastic bag recycling bins at the front of their stores (which, from memory have been around for years). They mention it on their website but don’t say specifically what they recycle the bags into. These bins appear to only accept plastic bags and do not accept any other types of soft plastic packaging. An option for those who don’t have a Coles nearby… http://woolworths.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/Website/Woolworths/About+Us/Our+Planet/Sustainability/

    • (dt)em says

      Yes! They have had plastic bag recycling for years. I think it’s a similar program – park benches and the like. I don’t see why you couldn’t put other plastic packaging in there. They might get the hint…

  2. Bek @ Just For Daisy says

    My only tip would be don’t overfill each bag as the slot on our collection bin is so small!! :) I had to really shove our first lot in!!! ;)
    Thanks for sharing – this has significantly reduced our waste!
    Bek @ Just For Daisy recently posted..Baby #3!!My Profile

    • (dt)em says

      Lol. People stare at me when I’m shoving my enormous bag in that little hole. But if you keep at it, you can get it all in one, just keep working the plastic through!

  3. Megan says

    Hi Jo, thank you so much. This is the first time I’ve been to your blog and you have seriously changed my bin forever. Soft plastic is the only thing that goes in our bin so now it will be almost empty. Hooray!! I can’t believe I didn’t know already. I will be sharing this. Thanks, new subscriber Megan

    • (dt)em says

      Yay! Love hearing the impact this program makes on people’s bins. Thanks for subscribing, lots of exciting things to come xxx

  4. Sharolyn says

    Thank you, this was helpful. It is great that Coles are involved with this, as some plastic use seems pretty inevitable. In the long term though, we really need to move away from using these types of plastics at all. I know it seems impossible, but we need to aim high. I am just sorting through a whole lot of my recyclables now and was wondering about foil chip packets, so I am pleased you answered that question for me. Thank you.
    Sharolyn recently posted..Weaving and lightMy Profile

  5. Libby Torney says

    I have a facebook page called Bag Lady Recycling Depot. I make things from soft plastic. Door mats, bag bags, recover chairs, outdoor cushions, blankets (material backing for comfort).

    Love your page.

    Currently working on a footstool idea I found on Pinterest for using milk bottle or other. Im doing it by filling the bottles with my rubbish and slightly dirty plastic until they are hard and full, capping them, and covering them with cardboard then wrapping my plaited plastic around them. Also oversized balls of plastic like the ones on my page.
    Currently trying to encourage a local shopping centre to intro a recycle bin at their entrance.

  6. Gillian says

    Thanks for this summary. Do you have any suggestions for recycling bubble wrap and padded post bags? I have more than I can re-use, and none of the soft plastics recyclers mention either of these items on their websites.

  7. Kate says

    I know this is an old thread now, but I just wanted to post an update.

    Both Coles and Woollies participate in “REDcycle” and you CAN put squeezie pouches (e.g., yoghurt, baby food) into the bins – but REDcycle asks you not to snip off the hard plastic parts – and to keep the caps ON to prevent any leftovers of contents dribbling out and contaminating other stuff.

    ALSO, the REDcycle FAQs confirm that they can recycle both bubble wrap and Australia Post satchels.

    This is such a fantastic program, I think since I started using it (and composting) a couple of years ago, the amount that goes in the regular bin is down to about a quarter of what it was.

  8. Kaye says

    The stores need larger bins now, as I think it is more popular and more people are aware of the usage of this plastic and not filling our landfills .

  9. Jane Ramsden says

    Can I put those foil single teabag covers (eg. Twinings) into the Coles bins, please?
    I have several! bags of plastic ready to go, but will hold these back until I know if I can. Thank you – lots of helpful tips.

    • (dt)em says

      Yep, these should be fine. They are similar to chip packets – they look like foil but are sneakily plastic!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge