Australian meat trays are now transparent to increase recycling

Australian meat punnets were recolored because recycling machines couldn’t read them.

The the optical sorting method did not work on black soft plastics two years ago.

They were not sent to be recycled into flowerpots.

Automated equipment can grab transparent packages.

Kyle O’Farrell, director of Blue Environment, said the new look had a clear purpose.

‘They adjusted the color so [meat trays] are also sortable,” he added, adding that it was difficult to improve on the design.

Most major companies have switched from PVC to polypropylene (PP), a hydrogen-carbon material.

PVC contains chlorine, a dangerous chemical when burned.

National Garbage reported that the country generated 2.5 million metric tons of plastic waste in 2018-2019.

Mr O’Farrell said plastics other than packaging used in vehicles, clothing and electronics had a recycling rate of 7%.

10,000 tons of waste, according to him.

“It has a bad recycling rate and a higher quantity,” he added.

The outbreak has increased plastic waste across the country.

Monash University Retail Report: Clothing, shoes and accessories are the most popular.

APCO spokesperson: “Understandably, the pandemic has led to more internet shopping and more packaging for customers to throw away at home.”

Recycling soft plastic is a problem because it is not collected in curbside bins.

Soft plastic waste in REDcycle bins outside Coles and Woolworths has doubled in 2020-21.

REDcycle Compatible Items

REDcycle makes it easier for customers to recycle “soft” plastic bags and food packaging.

Cookies (outer wrapper only)

chopsticks (without the tie)

Aluminum foil (large sheets cut into A3 size pieces)

Pet food pouches (as clean and dry as possible)

Cellophane flower (cut into A3 size pieces)


Snacks (doubled silver)

Packaging for chocolate and snacks


Bags of sweets

Shirts (remove the white reinforcing strip along the holes)

Pet food bags

Fruit bags

ice packs

Greenbags (woven polypropylene bags)

Candy wrappers

Plastic sheets for wrapping furniture (cut into A3 size pieces)

Plastic containing meat (rinse and dry first)

Produce a net (all metal clips removed)


Bagged pasta

Plastic and woven polypropylene straw/horse/chicken food bags (but not woven nylon). Cut into A3 pieces and brush off excess product.

Australia Post bags

Ban on plastic bags

Plastic wrap for diapers and toilet paper


Plastic and woven polypropylene compost bags (cut into A3 size pieces and free of as much product as possible)

Plastic braided rice bags (if large, cut into A3 size pieces)

ziplock/snaplock bags

Squeeze lid pouches (yogurt/baby food).

Clear plastic water/wine pouches

Please use dry and empty plastic.

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