Confectionery giant Nestle and Australian recycler iQ Renew will trial a soft plastics recycling program based on collecting waste from curbsides. The project will involve 2000 households on the NSW Central Coast and further add 140,000 homes in the future.
The soft plastic recycling plan aims to divert waste from going straight to landfills. Australians can collect them in a bright yellow ‘Curby’ bag and drop them in their yellow recycling bin, which will be picked up alongside their regular recycling collection.
The FMCG giant said it will have tags for identification that will ease the sorting process, to separate them from other recyclables. The soft plastics will be shredded so they can be used for other plastic products, chemical recycling and energy recovery.
“We are delighted to partner with Nestle and launch the Curby soft plastic recovery solution on the Central Coast,” said iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher. “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 it will answer concerns over whether the community will adopt the program and separate loose plastics from other recyclables, whether the bags survive the truck-collections, and if consumers will use regular shopping bags.
“We’ve been testing ways to separate and recover soft plastic from other items in household recycling, which is challenging for sorting facilities. This trial will allow us to test that at larger scale, with the hope of bringing much needed recycling innovation to all Australians,” he said.
Nestle Australia CEO Sandra Martinez said soft plastics compose about 30 per cent of plastic packaging in Australia.
“While Nestle 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,” Martinez said.
The multinational announced the trial during March’s National Plastics Summit where they presented projects from the waste and recycling industries, the local governments and packaging companies.
“We already know Australians want better access to recycling for their soft plastics. Seeing this enthusiasm shared by so many is encouraging, as collective action by those with a shared vision for a waste free future will be critical to solving this complex challenge at scale,” she added.
Central Coast Council’s director of roads transport and drainage, Boris Bolgoff, said the council is excited to pilot a new avenue to recover soft plastics, using already existing machinery without added costs.
“Soft plastics not only pollute our land but they also cause significant damage to our environment and marine life – which is something our residents value immensely,” he said.
Australians living in the Central Coast Council area can sign up online to participate in the trial.