Australia’s largest food manufacturer Nestlé and recycler iQ Renew have launched a trial with 2,000 households to test the recycling of soft plastic packaging.
The trial is taking place on the NSW Central Coast, with plans to extend it to around 140,000 homes.
With the vast majority of post-consumer soft plastic going to landfill, the trial aims to find ways to have the public play their part in collecting household soft plastic and turn it into a resource.
Participating households will collect their clean soft plastics in a purpose-made bright yellow ‘Curby’ bag.
The bag is then placed in their yellow recycling bin for pick up with their regular recycling collection.
Tags will identify the bags and help to improve the sorting process, ensuring they can be separated from other recyclables.
The soft plastics will then be shredded and become a resource for use in other plastic products, chemical recycling and energy recovery.
iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said that the trial aimed to test how collecting and processing soft plastics can be scaled up.
Gallagher said: “By piloting the Curby solution, residents of the Central Coast will help demonstrate that preventing soft plastic ending up in landfill is not only possible, but simple and highly achievable.
“The trial will help answer a few questions – how will the community adopt this? Can we keep loose plastics out of other recyclables? Will the bags survive the truck? Can we use regular shopping bags?”
Gallagher said recovering soft plastic from other items in household recycling is challenging for sorting facilities.
Nestlé Australia CEO Sandra Martinez said that with soft plastics making up 30 per cent of the plastic packaging used in Australia, the company wanted to be part of finding new approaches to boosting recycling .
“While Nestlé wants to reduce its use of virgin plastics and increase our use of recycled packaging, this won’t happen without robust collection, sorting and processing systems.
“Experience in Australia and round the world shows that people are more likely to recycle when it’s easy to access, and that kerbside is most successful.”
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