Boroondara: Flexible Plastics Recycling

Flexible (or soft) plastic is used in many forms of packaging, from checkout bags to packaging of bread, rice, frozen products and durable goods such as appliances and computers.

The City of Boroondara identified that flexible plastic packaging is the fastest growing format of packaging, accounting for hundreds of thousands of tonnes annually in Australia. It remains the least recycled packaging format largely due to the difficulty in getting material collected and sorted.

This project (which is ongoing) builds on the successful trial at Darebin Council supported by MWRRG and facilitates the collection, sorting and recycling of flexible plastics at Australia’s largest recycling sorting facility.  

The project aims to:

  • educate residents within the project council municipalities on how to present flexible plastic packaging for recycling
  • divert flexible plastic packaging from municipal solid waste
  • increase recycling rates for other packaging, particularly rigid plastics
  • support the progressive adoption of flexible plastics recycling at a metro, statewide and national level
  • reduce contamination caused by flexible plastics in the waste stream at the recycling facility.

The project engages communities within the Cities of Boroondara, Cardinia, Hobsons Bay and Nillumbik to consolidate flexible plastics in a designated collection bag for disposal in their kerbside recycling bins. The Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) and SKM Recycling Pty Ltd partnered on this project to fund the installation of optical sorting equipment at SKM’s recycling facility.

Flexible plastics collected for recycling through this project go to SKM Recycling (Australia’s largest recycling sorting facility) where the material is sorted, compacted and baled for recycling either locally or overseas.

The resources below document this project:


Case Study: Flexible Plastic Packaging in Kerbside Recycling - this two-page document offers a quick overview of the project including its implementation, residents' response and potential for expansion across other municipalities.

Flexible Plastics in Kerbside Recycling: Final Report - this document provides background and logistical information about the project in addition to overall results and recommendations. Supporting documentation includes the information provided to residents and community feedback.

Household Survey Analysis: Flexible Plastic Packaging in Kerbside Recycling - this document provides data and analysis of the results from the household survey which was conducted within the participating municipalities of Boroondara, Cardinia, Hobsons Bay and Nillumbik before and after the introduction of the flexible plastic packaging kerbside recycling service. The survey itself is included as an appendix.

 

Case Study: Flexible Plastic Packaging in Kerbside Recycling

  • Metro Fund: Flexible Plastic Packaging in Kerbside Recycling Case Study 3.4 MB

    This case study looks at how Metro Fund and MWRRG supported a 2016 Boroondara Council-led project to introduce flexible plastics kerbside recycling to 170,000 households in the Borooondara, Nillumbik, Cardinia and Hobsons Bay municipalities.

Flexible Plastics in Kerbside Recycling: Final Report

Household Survey Analysis: Flexible Plastic Packaging in Kerbside Recycling

Last updated: 04/07/2017