Frequently Asked Questions

Note for Schools and Tertiary Education

We know a lot of schools and tertiary education centres would like to be part of the Soft Plastics programme. We are working hard to expand the programme nationally and so we are focused at the moment on our partnerships with supermarkets and retailers.   You can get involved by recommending to your students that they drop off their soft plastic bags and packaging at their local store. You can find your local store on our store locator.

Check out our Waste Game to test your recycling knowledge.

PLEASE NOTE: WE CAN'T RECYCLE THE FOLLOWING:

  • compostable bags - these are bags made from material that can be composted
  • cling film

  • heavy foiled bags

For example, coffee bags, dog biscuit bags that are actually backed with foil.  Biscuit bags look silver but this is painted on, not foil backed, so these can be recycled.

Where does the collected soft plastic end up?

We have been sending the soft plastics we collect to Replas in Melbourne Australia. Because of the huge volumes we now collect, we are running trials with other recyclers in NZ and overseas to find other uses for what we collect. It’s more and more important to find alternative markets for soft plastics because countries like China are no longer taking recycling/waste.  

Are any toxic fumes created during the recycling process?

No, there are no harmful fumes produced at all. That's because our manufacturing partner Replas uses only polyolefin polymers (plastics 2, 4 & 5) in the manufacturing process. Polyolefin polymers are non-aromatic and non-carcinogenic, and don’t contain the nasty chemicals that some polymers, such as PVC, contain. When they are heated or burnt, the fumes are quite safe to breathe.

Do I need to wash out my plastic packaging before recycling it?

Packaging returned for recycling via our drop off bins should be ‘empty and dry’.  If you want to recycle bags and wrapping from foods give the bag a quick rinse, then turn it inside out to air dry overnight before popping it in with other collected plastic packaging.

Why isn’t the programme available in my area?

Over 70% of New Zealanders now have access to the recycling for soft plastics. We are looking at how we expand further.

Tell me how Replas recycles the soft plastic?

You can watch the whole process here.

What can I recycle in the Love NZ recycling bins at my local participating store?
We can accept all the following items for recycling:

 

  • Carrier Bags
  • Bread, pasta & rice bags
  • Fresh produce bags and Netting citrus bags
  • Frozen food bags (frozen vegetable, fries, burgers, nuggets, poultry etc.) 
  • Confectionery wrap and lolly bags
  • Dairy wrappers
  • Plastic packaging around toilet paper, kitchen towels, nappies and sanitary products
  • Courier packs
  • Newspaper wrap
  • Chocolate & muesli bar wrappers and Biscuit packets (wrapper only)
  • Chip & cracker packets
  • Ice cream wrappers
  • Cereal box liners
  • Bubble wrap and large sheets of plastic that furniture comes wrapped in (cut into pieces the size of an A3 sheet of paper first)
Plastic bag recycling near me - your nearest participating store?

You can find your nearest participating supermarket or store by using the Store Locator on our website.

Do I need to cut off the rigid plastic spout and lid form my squeeze pouch before I place it in the drop off bin?

Yes please cut off the hard plastic tops and make sure empty, clean and dry

Can I take plastic bags from any brand and any retailer back to any of the participating stores?

Absolutely. We accept carrier bags and all forms of soft plastic packaging from all brands.

We encourage you to bring back the packaging from those brands that are helping fund this programme and to encourage other brands to participate to make sure this recycling service is successful. 

Can I recycle silver-lined chip packets via the programme?

Yes, the thin foil-like plastic sleeves and packets that some biscuits, chocolate bars, crackers and chips come in are fine to be recycled. 

Can I recycle degradable, bio degradable or compostable bags via the programme?

No, we can’t accept degradable, compostable, or bio degradable bags. Bags that are labelled degradable or compostable have been specifically manufactured to break down in the general waste stream. We can’t use them for recycling because they start to degrade before they are processed.

Can I recycle the plastic tray from my biscuit packet via the programme?

No, when it comes to biscuit packaging, it’s only the soft plastic wrapper that we can accept for recycling. The tray that the biscuits sit in is classified as rigid and should therefore be disposed of with the rest of your rigid (hard plastics) recycling in your council’s kerbside collection. 

Can I recycle my soft plastics with small paper labels left on?

Small paper labels can be left on. They don’t need to be cut off. If the label/paper covers the majority of the item, then it should be left out.

Can plastic bags be recycled?

Absolutely! drop off your plastic bags at your nearest participate store - see our store locator to find the one nearest you.  We can recycle grocery bags and plastic wrap into objects - see our product page for more information.  Please do!  Start soft plastic recycling today.

What is 'soft plastic'?

Soft plastic refers to grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, plastic wrappers of products such as biscuits, chips, anything you buy that has a soft plastic sheath.

Soft plastic CAN be recycled.  Clean and gather your bags and wrappers and take them to your nearest participating store.

Any soft plastic that can't be recycled?

Yes. We CAN NOT recycle:

- cling film

- compostable bags

- heavy foiled lined bags eg coffee bags

Biscuit packets with a silver coloured backing are not foil lined, so they can be recycled.

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Look out for this bin in your Store

Soft Plastic Recycling Store Locations