REDcycle. Have you heard of them? An initiative started by a passionate mum, providing Australian's with the opportunity to recycle their soft plastics.
Didn't know that your soft plastics can't go in your normal recycling bin? Neither did Elizabeth. That was until she did a little research and realised there was no clear way to ensure soft plastics don't end up in landfill.
And so, REDcycle was born.
With recycling bins in your local Coles and Woolworths, REDCycle is paving the way to make soft plastic recycling simple and accessible to everyone.
And we wanted to hear more about it...
We sat down (virtually) with Rebecca, Marketing and Communications Manager from RED Group and asked her to share a little more about the work they do and how more people can get involved.
Q: We are fascinated by the REDcycle story. How did the program come about?
REDcycle was the brainwave of a mum – Elizabeth Kasell - who wondered why she couldn’t put her soft plastic packaging out with her council recycling bin. So, she found a company who would be able to recycle the plastic (because, what’s recycling without an end purpose? Just a pick up service!), and then developed a program to collect soft plastics through her son’s school.
After gaining a grant from Sustainability Victoria, the program was expanded to a number of Victorian schools. As the popularity of REDcycle grew and more people wanted access to it, the partnership with Coles was born, and then Woolworths, making REDcycle bins available to people Australia wide!
Q: For those that don't know, how does the program work?
Consumers drop off their soft plastics to a REDcycle bin at one of over 1800 participating Coles and Woolworths stores nationwide. The material we recover goes through an initial sorting process at our depot in Williamstown, Victoria (to eliminate any obvious contaminants/rubbish), then it is baled up and sent to 3 onshore, Australian, manufacturing partners. These partners then melt it down, turn it into pellets, and then they create all these amazing products.
Q: What sort of impact has REDCycle had on communities?
I just think in general REDcycle has given people a bit of hope that they are contributing something positive to the environment by being able to properly dispose of their soft plastic packaging. It’s also opened people’s minds to how much they use on a daily basis that probably wasn’t consciously realised before. And in some communities it’s brought them together, whether it be around a Replas Buddy Chair for their local school, or using roads made from recycled soft plastics, or having new pathways built in their local parks made from recycled soft plastics – people feel connected to these sorts of items when they know that something they did helped contribute to their construction.
Q: How can people get involved?
- Just gather up your soft plastics then take them to a REDcycle bin at your local participating Coles or Woolworths store. You can either empty the contents into the bin, or place them in using another plastic bag (some people use old dog food bags or bread bags).
- We really need to build a more robust market here in Australia for products made from recycled materials. The more products purchased, the better the pull-through effect. Otherwise recycling isn’t recycling at all, it’s just a linear process, a collection service. If communities are serious about recycling, we need people to re-think their purchasing choices.
Q: What is it like knowing that you are helping reduce the amount of landfill in Australia?
Of course it feels great! To know that we now recover over 2 million pieces of soft plastic every single day, from right across Australia.
Q: Best moment you have had while working at REDcycle...
I actually truly love what I do and working for REDcycle. Some of my best moments have been from doing live presentations or radio interviews, having that interaction with people and seeing them really loving hearing about REDcycle. And receiving some genuinely lovely feedback from people across the country, that I get to share with the other team members. We’re also a small team, and we really genuinely like working together!
All of our Cove refill pouches are 100% recyclable through the REDcycle program. Simply take them to your local supermarket drop off point along with the rest of your soft plastics.
For more information, head to https://www.redcycle.net.au/