Soft plastics recycling


In partnership with Plasmar, Council is now accepting soft plastics for recycling.

A drop-off point at the Awaba Community Recycling Centre (CRC) is available for Lake Macquarie residents to recycle household quantities of soft plastics.  

The collected plastics will be manufactured by Plasmar into environmentally friendly timber alternatives, such as sleepers and posts. These products will be bought back by Council to be used across the city and contribute to the circular economy.

To learn more about what else you can recycle at the CRC, visit Community Recycling Centre.

Accepted items

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All items must be empty and dry. Household quantities only.

Most non-foil plastics are accepted, including:

  • Biscuit outer wrappers
  • Bread bags (without the tie)
  • Bubble wrap (cut into A3 size pieces if large)
  • Cereal box liners
  • Cling film (GLAD, Coles home brand and Woolworths Essentials Home only)
  • Confectionery packets and bags (non-foil based)
  • Courier satchels (all plastic)
  • Chocolate and muesli bar wrappers (non-foil based)
  • Fresh produce bags
  • Frozen food bags
  • Netting bags (citrus, onions, avocados, with clips removed)
  • Newspaper and magazine wrap
  • Pasta bags
  • Plastic and woven food bags (cut into A3 size pieces if large)
  • Plastic wrapping from grocery items (such as nappies and toilet paper)
  • Reusable shopping/grocery bags
  • Plastic and woven rice bags (cut into A3 size pieces if large)
  • Rice, pasta, noodles and other packaging
  • Shopping bags from retailers
  • Snap lock bags 
  • Squeeze pouches with lid on (such as yogurt and baby food)

Frequently asked questions

Why can't I put soft plastics in kerbside recycling bins?

Soft plastic packaging is not an identified waste type in Council’s current recycling contract with Solo Resource Recovery.

Why is Council adding this service to the CRC?

The CRC is a central drop off location for Lake Mac residents. It is an established site with a range of recycling options, and existing collection and transportation facilities.

The recycling program with Plasmar also includes diverting hard plastics from landfill at Awaba Community Recycling Centre. Household items such as buckets, children's toys and storage containers will be given a new life and recycled by Plasmar, and manufactured into new items to be used around Lake Mac, such as posts and benches.

How are the plastics recycled?

Plasmar pelletises this waste and recycles it into practical products like wheel stops, posts and bollards.

These products will be given a new lease on life across the city, with Council buying back these products to be used across the city.

What soft plastics aren't accepted?

  • Foil lined, silver plastic packaging such as chip packets and coffee bags
  • PVC such as pool covers and toys, bed linen packaging and A4 sheet protectors
  • Hard plastics such as biscuit packet trays, fresh produce trays, plastic bottles, plastic containers and cartons
  • Gloves and masks
  • Polystyrene
  • Plastic A4 sheet protectors
  • Large bags or sheets of plastic, greater than A3 size.
  • Compostable, biodegradable or degradable plastics
  • Remove any metals such as clips and zips


Why are foil soft plastics not accepted?

Foil composite plastics are not being accepted at this time. They cannot be mixed with other single-polymer soft plastics because they have different thermal properties that require separate handling in the remanufacturing process.

How much of this material will be stored on-site?

Collections of the stored soft plastics will take place every month initially. This may change if volumes increase significantly.

Why can’t we use the Curby system like the City of Newcastle?

Soft plastic packaging is not an identified waste type in Council’s current recycling contract with Solo Resource Recovery. Only when new contract negotiations begin, can soft plastics be considered for collection in the yellow-lidded bin.

What happened to Redcycle?

Redcycle paused its operations in November 2022 due to an overwhelming amount of soft plastics being received in supermarkets and a lack of recycling market for the collected product.

Plasmar’s recycling model differs in that they are a manufacturer of plastic products, and only accepts recycled plastics from customers who agree to participate in their closed loop solution by purchasing recycled plastic products, such as park benches.

Council recently purchased five of these benches to use in their asset replacement program when replacing aged and broken park benches.

Supermarkets are investigating alternative options. 

Are there any other drop-off locations?

Council is working on a multi-staged approach to soft plastic recycling options in Lake Macquarie and investigating opportunities to expand on our offerings over time.

The Awaba CRC is currently the best available option for collecting soft plastics.

This is due to materials handling and storage requirements, and a need to closely supervise any drop off points to minimise contamination.

Council is planning to construct a new Community Recycling Centre at Floraville Road, Belmont which would also accept soft plastics along with other household problem wastes like batteries, gas bottles, paint, etc.

Visit Eastlakes Community Recycling Centre for more information.

It is likely that the Federal Government or the Packaging Industry will introduce an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for soft plastics packaging in the year ahead.

Such a scheme would mean that manufacturers, importers and sellers of packaged products would fund the recycling and buy back recycled polymer for inclusion in new packaging products.

Council would seek to align any future wider-reaching community soft plastics recovery services with the operational parameters this emerging EPR scheme.