Some tips for recycling soft and difficult plastic in Australia

In Australia I can recycle everything and here are some tough ones for me that may work for you, too.

The best tip for recycling is; buy or make things so you don’t have to recycle.

For example, buy food from places where you can put the food into your containers.

Coffee pods

I don’t use them.  But today over 3 million pods will be used - and every one of 365 days this year.

The annual total is this number – over one billion; 1,095,000,000.

Each of them used just – once.

They’re made of aluminium, sometimes called, ‘liquid electricity’.  New South Wales’ Tomago aluminium smelter uses 10% of the state’s power.  Plastic pods can’t be recycled in council recycling plants.

Almost all are wasted in household garbage and go to landfill. All can be recycled, but aren’t.

Solutions include:

  • Free post-back of Nespresso Capsules using postage-paid parcels that hold up to 130 capsules sold by Australia Post for $1.90 and put into Australia Post offices or boxes; see,
  • Nespresso capsules can also be returned to Nespresso stores or some florists –
  • Plastic pods (eg Dolce Gusto) can be recycled, too, and the plastic reused.



Tins of paint (but not for cars, from aerosol cans, tar or bitumen products, glues).

Solutions include:

  • The paint industry got together and offers recycling at drop off points:


X-ray film

Hard copy film has plastic and silver in it and the silver can be recovered and made into jewellery and other products.

Solutions include:

  • A recycling service is offered by Quantum -


Soft plastics –cling wrap

They clog up recycling plants and can’t be recycled there.

Soft plastics include zip-lock bags, sweets packaging, bread wrapping, chip and biscuit wrapping.


  • Drop off at REDcycle bins at Coles, Woolworths, Safeway.  Locate a place near you here;
  • About a dozen councils accept soft plastics; eg Fremantle Council in Western Australia, Lismore, Ballina in New South Wales


Know of more solutions?

Please offer your tips using the comments option on this blog.