How does the soft plastics initiative work?



What soft plastic is collected?

Soft plastic is a plastic that can be scrunched easily in your hand. 


Once the soft plastic is collected, where does it go?

We’ve partnered with APR Plastics, a Victorian soft plastic recycler. The soft plastics will be recycled here in Australia, at APR Plastics facility in Victoria.


What is the carbon footprint of this process?

Before starting the process, we conducted thorough research and calculations to make sure the process wasn’t harmful to the environment. 

  • We have transported 2 tonnes of soft plastics to APR in Victoria as of March 2023, which emitted 390 kgs of CO2. As a carbon neutral company, we will offset these emissions through a tree planting program by Trace. We will also offset all the future ones. 
  • We also verified that the overall impact is positive. By producing recycled soft plastics, around 315,000 kgs of CO2 are prevented from entering the atmosphere compared to creating virgin soft plastics, which emit around 198,000 kgs of CO2 per ton. 
  • Recycling also helps reduce impacts on biodiversity and soil by reducing the use of virgin materials.*

*We made our carbon offset calculations using the following sources:



How can we be sure what is collected will be processed and not stockpiled?

The soft plastics will be compacted and stored at consolidation points until there are enough pallets to fill a truck. The pallets will then be transported directly via truck to APR Plastics in Victoria where it will be processed.


How does the recycling process work?

  1. The soft plastics are baled and loaded onto a pallet. The pallets will then be transported directly to APR Plastics in Victoria where it will be processed.
  2. At the facility, the soft plastics will be shredded so it can be consistently fed into the process.
  3. Shredded plastics are then fed into the Biofabrik WASTX pyrolysis machine.
  4. The uniquely designed corkscrew conveyor transports the plastic material into the reactor and breaks it down at high temperatures. The plastic is then converted into feedstock oil.
  5. The feedstock oil will be sent to VIVA Energy’s Geelong refinery for further processing. From here it is then turned into resin, which enables it to be turned back into food grade plastic packaging again.


How much energy does the machine use?

The machine is self sufficient and uses the gases from the plastic to power the machine. It generates no carbon emissions and no waste.

Is there any waste from the plastic and where does it go?
The waste (contaminants) from the plastic becomes carbon ash or carbon black. Both of these can be used in the manufacture of paints, tyres, asphalt or bitumen. 


Wouldn’t it be better to recycle the soft plastic into something like park benches?

Australia currently uses 70 billion pieces of soft plastic per year*. The plastic problem is huge and multi-faceted. We desperately need more than one solution to it! 

Park benches, fences, bollards, etc. is definitely an option and reduces the amount of virgin plastic that would otherwise be used to create those objects. 

At the same time, ultimately, the future goal in a circular economy is to achieve a full circular outcome (eg. turning soft plastics back into soft plastics again). This is why the Plastics-to-oil project is also interesting. 

*National Plastics Plan summary 2021. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

When will the supermarket bins be back?

We are trying to make an impact at our humble level with our soft plastics recycling initiative. The national Soft Plastics taskforce is working on an Australia-wide solution. 

Is there a drop off point I can come to?

The beauty of our service is that we come to your doorstep :) Our goal is to make recycling easy for our residents. If you’d like to see which councils we operate in, click here.


What do I do if I want RecycleSmart to collect soft plastics (and more) in my council? 

We are working hard to make recycling easier for everyone, but if we aren’t offering pickups in your area yet and you would like us to, click here.