Council is dedicated to a plastic free Northern Beaches. See our initiatives to reduce single use plastics.

Council initiatives

Policy development

Council has been a strong advocate for reducing single use plastics at a local level through the implementation of Council's two new policies in 2017:

  • Single Use Plastics Policy - This policy encourages responsible procurement and consumption practices within Council and the community. 
  • Waste Minimisation at Functions and Events Policy - This policy requires event organisers to reduce their waste, promote sustainable procurement and increase recycling at public events held on Council property. The Policy and Guidelines ban event organisers selling or distributing single-use plastics, balloons, bottled water and single serve sachets.

Soft plastic recycling

In recent years there has been an exponential increase in the use of soft plastics, many of which are single use and made of mixed materials. This makes them very hard to recycle and together this has contributed to the collapse of REDcycle's soft plastics collection from supermarkets and has left many residents wondering what to do with their soft plastics.

The collapse has been compounded with a fire shutting down the largest recycling facility and recyclers in general finding it difficult to find markets for their products.

The best option is to avoid soft plastics. The next best option is to recycle.

The essential steps to successful recycling involve:

  • A collection program
  • Processing the soft plastics into new products at a recycling facility
  • Finding sustainable markets for the products

There are limited markets for recycled soft plastics in Australia and any further interim collection model will only be adopted by Council if there are proven sustainable markets for the plastic collected.

Soft plastic collections

A Soft Plastic Task Force comprising Australian supermarkets ALDI, Coles and Woolworths are working towards reducing unnecessary plastics in their stores and reintroducing soft plastics collections in their supermarkets. They have assumed control of the stockpiles created by REDcycle and will try and save as much of these stockpiles from landfill as possible. 

They recently launched a soft plastics recycling trial across 12 Melbourne supermarkets as work continues to rebuild a national soft plastic recycling system. The Task Force states “The biggest challenge still remains – there are simply not enough soft plastic recyclers up and running to allow us to expand collections to supermarkets across the country just yet.”

 'Soft Plastics Taskforce, Roadmap to Restart' (March 2023).

Coles/Woolworths/ALDI Taskforce trial plastics collection scheme - Inside Waste (February 2024).

Keep up to date about events and activities Council is running to reduce waste. Subscribe to Council’s newsletters.