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How to recycle plastic packaging

While living without plastic is the ultimate planet-strong goal, there are ways to reduce your environmental impact even if you can't break up with plastic packaging just yet.

Depending on where you live, you might have access to plastic recycling programs. Check out our list below, or add your own knowledge in the comments below.


AUSTRALIA AND NZ

Keep your empty bread bags, biscuit packets, frozen food bags,
rice and pasta bags, confectionery packets, plastic shopping bags and old reusable bags out of landfill by bringing them in to selected Coles and Woolworths supermarkets instead.

Drop them into your nearest REDcycle collection bin and your empty packaging will be recycled into useful new products such as sturdy outdoor furniture and signage.

Find a collection point here.


USA

Almost all curbside recycling programs do not accept plastic bags (check with your local waste authority) – so plastic bags should be dropped off at grocery stores with plastic bag recycling programs (Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Target etc.). If you put plastic bags in your curbside recycling bin, they often clog machines at recycling facilities and thus actually hinder the recycling process.

Even at the grocery store, you may only recycle clean and dry plastic bags and films, including the following:

plastic carryout bags

newspaper bags

dry cleaning bags

bread & produce bags

zip lock bags (remove hard components)

plastic cereal box liners

case wrap/shipping packaging (diapers, snacks, water bottles, paper towels)

Find a location near you


CANADA

Canada does an awesome job with plastic recycling, and there are collection points across the nation where you can deposit your soft plastics.

Canada uses some of the same systems as the US, so if you don't have a community program happening, check out retail drop-off points for plastics here.


UK

Plastic films and carrier bags: Although these are not usually collected as part of your recycling service, they can be recycled in the carrier bag collection points at the larger stores of most major retailers including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, The Co-op and Waitrose.


OTHER LOCATIONS

SOUTH AFRICA

GERMANY

ITALY

JAPAN

HONG KONG


Help the 1 Million Women community by adding any info for your country or region in the comments below!

READ THIS NEXT: There's 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our waterways

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