Coles and Nestle will being taking part in a feasibility study to determine the technical, economic and environmental benefits of developing a local advanced recycling industry.
The pair of businesses will join technology developer Licella, recycler iQ Renew, and polymer manufacturer LyondellBasell in the study, which will look at potential sites in Victoria for an advanced recycling facility which could recycle soft plastics into oil, which could be turned back into soft plastics.
The news coincides with Nestle’s launch of an Australian-first soft wrapper for KitKat.
“We are committed to working together with industry to find ways to reduce the impact we have on the environment and we understand the importance of being part of a more sustainable future for plastics for our customers, our team and the communities we serve,” said Coles chief sustainability, property and export officer Thinus Keeve.
“The potential to completely close the loop on soft plastics and convert it into food-grade soft plastics that could then be used in our Own Brand packaging would be a game changer.”
Nestle Australia chief executive Sandra Martinez said the company wanted to be a part of finding new approaches to the recycling of soft plastics.
“While Nestle wants to reduce its use of virgin plastics and increase our use of recycled packaging, this won’t happen without the whole plastics value chain working together,” Martinez said.
“This feasibility study will provide an important key to developing a better future for soft plastics in Australia.”
The export of mixed plastics is to be banned from July 2022 under the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, meaning domestic solutions for plastic waste must be in place before.
And, according to the national packaging targets set by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, the packaging industry is working toward being 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.