24/07/2014

Do the Scrunch

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A recent development in recycling technology means that soft plastic – which once upon a time had no option but ending its life as litter or landfill – can now be recycled right here on Aussie shores.

The innovation is driven by RED Group, a consulting and recycling organisation who have made it their mission to create closed-loop recycling for the plastic we use in Australia. They partnered with Coles to introduce a national scheme to facilitate soft plastic recycling.

What is ‘soft plastic’

It’s not a silly question. There’s a lot of understandable confusion out there about what plastics can and can’t be recycled, and whether your local council accepts PET 1 or LDPE 4 (content for another post)… don’t worry, this is a simple one.

All the soft plastic being recycled in Australia goes to the same place, Replas, THE soft plastic recycling company who repurpose your plastic into outdoor furniture, signage, decking and, of all things, dog agility tracks.

The only test necessary is the scrunch test. It’s so simple even a child could do it. In fact, that’s a good idea – get your children to do it! Instilling recycling and eco-friendly ethics from a young age is crucial to creating a better future for everyone.

Give your plastic a good squish, and if it cracks, it belongs in the bin (and you might consider buying a different product, if you’re able to, that uses more environmentally friendly packaging). If it’s hard, it goes to the recycling, but if the plastic can be scrunched easily into a ball, it could have a better life ahead as a flyball racetrack hurdle.

Squishable plastic also conveniently stashes into a bag that you can take with you the next time you visit a Coles. To check where your nearest Coles drop-off is, put your postcode in the REDcycle locator. Accepted items include:

  • Bread bags
  • Biscuit packets
  • Frozen food bags
  • Rice and pasta bags
  • Confectionery packets
  • Newspaper wrap
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Old green bags

The REDcycle Program is a voluntary, industry-led initiative and a true product stewardship model where everyone involved in the life cycle of a product –manufacturers, distributors and consumers – choose to share responsibility for the best end-of-life outcome.

If you don’t have a drop-off store convenient to you, you can mail your soft plastic instead to:

RED Group
Attn: Plastic packaging recycling
80C Maffra Street
Coolaroo, VIC 3048

Of course, even better than recycling your plastic bags is not using them in the first place. The best option is still to take your own reusable shopping bags and avoid single-use plastics. In circumstances where plastic use is more difficult to avoid, it’s worth looking into alternatives on the market, compostable and biodegradable ‘plastics’ like those made by BioBag.

BioBag sponsors several of our programs and create bioplastic products that are healthier for the environment and help businesses and individuals reduce their footprint.

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