We are deeply saddened by the news that REDcycle has had to suspend operating for the time being.
REDcycle is one of Australia’s main soft plastic recyclers available for consumer soft plastic waste. Soft plastics are scrunchable plastics often used to package supermarket items like pet food, ice cream, chocolate and frozen foods, among general items like shopping bags and bubble wrap. Due to the material’s lightweight composition, they cannot be recycled through our recycling bins as the Materials Recovery Facilities optical sorting cannot distinguish between soft plastics and paper, contaminating the paper stream.
A spokeswoman for REDcycle said “several unforeseen challenges, exacerbated by the pandemic” meant that three companies that normally accepted the plastic for recycling were no longer doing so (Vedelago and Dowling; 2022). This resulted in temporary stockpiling in warehouses, which was formerly accepted by companies like Replas and Plastic Forests to be processed into household and furniture items.
REDcycle has confirmed that pre-collected uncontaminated soft plastics collected through the REDcycle program are not, and will not be sent to landfill. Existing soft plastics that have been stockpiled will not be landfilled and will be processed in the future – this is done at a personal expense to the company to keep these soft plastics out of landfill that consumers have taken the time to separate from general waste.
Reluctantly, we recommend that for the time being, residents pause separating soft plastics and put them in your general waste bin instead. Recycle Right will be updated as soon as possible to reflect these changes and recommendations.
Now more than ever, we need to avoid single-use plastics – the first tier of the waste reduction hierarchy. Bulk food stores, like the Clean Pantry, The Source Bulk Foods, The Storehouse, and Wasteless Pantry (among others) are a great way to stock your pantry with plastic-free foods, without sacrificing on taste or quality. WMRC is running a bulk food workshop at the Clean Pantry in Mosman Park on December 3, if you would like a crash course in bulk food shopping and ways that you can use bulk food stores in your favour at home – visit our event page for more details.
- REDcycle. (n.d.). REDcycle program to temporarily pause. REDcycle. Retried November 9, 2022, from https://redcycle.net.au/
- Vedelago, C, and Dowling, J.(2022, November 8). Coles, Woolworths recycling scheme collapses after secret stockpiles revealed. Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/national/coles-woolworths-recycling-scheme-collapses-after-secret-stockpiles-revealed-20221107-p5bw9q.html