Major supermarkets in Australia unveil new plan to restore soft plastic recycling

SYDNEY, March 8– A joint taskforce of Aldi, Coles and Woolworths, three major supermarket retailers in Australia, has released a roadmap plan, aiming to resume soft plastic collection following the suspension of the previous REDcycle program. REDcycle, launched in 2011, was Australia’s largest plastic bag recycling program, which had partnered with…

SYDNEY, March 8 (Xinhua) — A joint taskforce of Aldi, Coles and Woolworths, three major supermarket retailers in Australia, has released a roadmap plan, aiming to resume soft plastic collection following the suspension of the previous REDcycle program.

The “Roadmap to Restart,” released on Tuesday, outlines the steps needed to launch an in-store collection pilot in late 2023, as well as the beforehand clearing of existing stockpiles that were not processed by the former recycling operator REDcycle.

“For the vast majority of Australian households, the only avenue to recycle their soft plastic waste has been through the REDcycle bins available at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets … We owe it to consumers to get this right,” said a spokesperson for the taskforce.

The soft plastics taskforce is formed in response to the suspension of the REDcycle program since November 2022. REDcycle, launched in 2011, was Australia’s largest plastic bag recycling program, which had partnered with supermarkets and manufacturers to collect and recycle soft plastic items over the years.

According to the new taskforce roadmap plan, the stockpile remediation action plan is scheduled to be finalized by the end of April, including safety risk assessment, safe storage and development of processing options. The implementation of the plan would also start in April.

The taskforce noted in a statement that the current timeline to launch an in-store collection pilot by late 2023 is contingent on the ability to clear the soft plastic stockpiles, which Coles and Woolworths have recently been granted control of again.

“While the Taskforce is working to launch in-store collections urgently, it is severely constrained by Australia’s limited access to domestic soft plastic recycling which can manage the ‘mixed polymer’ soft plastics that are deposited by the public in supermarket collection bins,” it said. Enditem