I am wondering if foam netting sleeves that are often used to protect glass bottles in transport (see picture) can be recycled in a soft plastic stream? (like RedCycle in Australia)

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1 Answer 1


Actually I think I can answer my own question.

The answer is probably yes and no.

It looks like most of those foam netting sleeves are EPE, i.e. expanded polyethylene.

The soft plastic recycling company I mentioned, RedCycle, specifies that any kind of foam should not go into their stream (although there is no mention of EPE specifically). This might be counter-intuitive because most of the stream must be polyethylene.

For it to be viable, recycling of EPE has to be separate of other foam products like polystyrene-based ones, and the material has to be compacted for efficient transport, and has to remain compacted as it has a high memory of its original shape.

However, recycling of EPE does happen, and it is often melted to produce recycled polyethylene pellets.

I guess that a company accepting EPE or not in their plastic recycling stream will depend on (1) if polyethylene is part of what materials they recover, and (2) if they consider it to be worth their while given that it often takes up so much space for so little mass (i.e. how is the waste handled during storage, transport and processing).

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