plastic waste

Soft Plastic Recycling

Wondering what soft plastic is and if it is recyclable? This blog explores all about soft plastic recycling, from its definition to tips on how to dispose of your soft plastic waste. Barna Recycling has invested in technological advancements allowing us to sort, recover and dispose of different plastic materials. Each household increasing their efforts to dispose of plastic is an essential & positive step for managing recycling plastic packaging waste in the country, and that includes soft plastic recycling. It will help put Ireland a huge step forward towards achieving the increased packaging recycling targets set by the EU. 
Currently, Ireland recycles less than one-third (28 per cent) of all plastic packaging waste.  
Irish Data from 2018 shows that out of the 264,000 tonnes of plastic packaging generated, only 82,000 was recycled. Almost all remaining plastic packaging was often shipped overseas to Europe for incineration or use by energy plants.  

soft plastic recycling


What is soft plastic? 

Soft plastic is any type of plastic that you can scrunch in your hand. Good types of soft plastic are shrunken wraps, plastic carrier bags, toilet roll wrappers, plastic bread bags, zip lock bags, and bubble wrap.

Soft Plastic Recycling: defining if the plastic is recyclable 

A good indicator if plastic is soft and recyclable is to pull on the plastic to see if it stretches. This means the plastic is not laminated and can be recycled. 

If the plastic doesn’t stretch, this means it’s laminated or coated and, therefore, probably not recyclable. These types of plastic are removed during our sorting process for rigid and soft plastic recycling and sent to waste to energy recovery. Examples of non-soft plastics are foil-based packaging, neither netting, polystyrene and foam.

Rigid plastics, such as plastic bottles and food trays, are accepted in the recycling bin. Going forward, households can place all plastic packaging waste, including soft plastic, into the recycling bin if they’re clean, dry and loose.

Remember to place your recycling materials loose, clean, and dry into your bin. Please do not place your recycling items in a plastic bag. 

You can always check What Goes in My Blue Bin if you are unsure of items that can be recycled.

recycled plastic and soft plastic


Barna’s Soft Plastic Recycling Process and Tips 

  • Once your plastic waste is placed in the household recycling bin, our collection crew then collect your recycling bins on the designated day and deliver the waste materials to our EPA-licensed recycling facility.  
  • Once your waste materials are delivered to our facility, the recycled items are then sorted for processing on our picking line. 
  • Here, the recycled waste is separated into six different categories such as paper, cardboard or hard plastics, glass, aluminium & steel cans. 
  • As a result of new technology and investment, soft plastics can now be segregated in this same way with the use of advanced optical sorting equipment, which facilitates the soft plastic recycling process. 
  • Plastics have a high energy content that can be converted to electricity, synthetic gas, fuels, and recycled feedstocks for new plastics. 
  • The recyclable plastic & cardboard waste is baled & shipped abroad to be sold and recycled in European and other markets or used by manufacturers or energy plants.


Interesting Facts about Plastic  

  • Plastic makes up 90% of the rubbish in our oceans 
  • Plastic production uses 8% of the world’s oil production 
  • Every ton of plastic that is recycled saves 30 barrels of crude oil 
  • A plastic bag takes 500 years to break down in a landfill 
  • Recycling 1 plastic bottle saves the same amount of energy needed to power a 60-Watt light bulb for 6 hours 

 Items that can be made from recycled plastic bottles include: 

  • Fleece 
  • Sleeping Bags 
  • Backpacks 
  • Dog Beds 
  • 25 large plastic soft drink bottles will make 1 Fleece Jacket 



Tips For Reducing Your Use Of Plastic

plastic waste management

Are you looking to reduce your use of single-use plastics in your home but not sure exactly how to start or just need a bit of inspiration as to alternatives you can use instead of going for the safe option of a e.g. plastic water bottle, then look no further, we’ll set out 8 steps you can take to start reducing plastic in your home today, and don’t worry they aren’t too drastic, just small changes that can make a big difference.

1. Carry reusable shopping bags

Do you often go to pick up some groceries and then have to pay for a plastic bag to get them home? Why not start carrying around reusable shopping bags? Pop some bags in the boot of your car or leave them beside your shopping list, somewhere you’ll remember to grab them on your way out on shopping days. And why not use them for more than just grocery shopping, use them for the likes of clothes shopping too!

2. Food packaging

Approximately 25% of domestic waste is from packaging. Supermarkets offer more biodegradable food packaging options instead of carrying some loose netting or reusable bags to pack fruit, veg, or baked goods.

3. Stop using plastic bottles of water

Why not invest in a reusable water bottle and bring this to work/ on walks/ to the gym and just generally when you are out and about, a lot of restaurants/ bars are happy to refill your reusable bottle for you when you’re on the go. Not to mention using a reusable bottle will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Plastic waste

4. Use a reusable travel mug for tea/ coffee

Similar to the step above, bringing a reusable travel mug with you when getting take away teas/ coffees will help reduce your use of single-use plastics. And often times, if you are using a reusable cup the shop will give you a small discount on the cost of your drink.

5. Don’t get the little plastic table when ordering pizza

This is something many people wouldn’t even think of, but when ordering a takeaway pizza, ask the restaurant not to include a little plastic table in your pizza!

6. Cut back on frozen convenience foods

There is a lot of packaging used for frozen convenience foods, we aren’t saying stop buying them altogether, they are handy to have in, for busy evenings when you don’t have time to cook, but why not try cutting back on the number of frozen convenience foods you currently purchase.

7. Choose toilet paper not wrapped in plastic

A lot of toilet roll suppliers are now using an alternative to plastic wrapping, they are using paper which is much more widely recycled. Why not opt for these brands of toilet roll over the plastic-wrapped options.

8. Choose shampoo, not in plastic bottles

Some shampoo producers are working on innovative ways to produce their shampoo without using plastic bottles. You could do some research to find suppliers who are moving away from the use of plastic bottles and find one you like.

These are just some simple ideas to get you started on reducing the use of single-use plastics in your home.