Nestlé and Australian recycler iQ Renew have joined forces to trial a collection and recycling scheme for soft plastics and see them used as a resource.
To meet increasing consumer demand for improved recycling, the companies intend to find a way to collect, sort and process soft plastics that can be broadly adopted.
The trial, which was formally announced at the National Plastics Summit on Monday, aims to collect soft plastics from over 100,000 homes through kerbside recycling and diverted from landfill.
According to iQ, soft plastics make up 20% of the volume of Australian household landfill bins and are also frequently found incorrectly placed in recycling bins.
In response, iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said there is an opportunity to convert soft plastic from a waste to a resource.
“Most material recovery facilities (MRFs) can’t separate soft plastic from other items in household recycling, so while soft plastic can be recycled, what we lack is a robust, scalable system to collect and process it using existing kerbside collection,” said Gallagher.
“We’ve designed the trial so that at the front end, it will support householders to pre-sort their soft plastic and get it into a recycling stream, while behind the scenes, we’ll test using the sorted soft plastic as a resource in a range of different manufacturing processes.”
Nestlé Australia CEO Sandra Martinez added: “As Nestlé plans to reduce our virgin plastic use and increase the amount of food grade recycled plastic packaging we use, we need plastic to be collected. Given the low amount of soft plastic collected from consumers today, we hope this trial can unlock the significant potential for soft plastic packaging to become a resource.
“Australians are enthusiastic recyclers and want better recycling systems that take plastic packaging out of landfill. This trial will uncover how households understand soft plastics collection and answer critical questions about how it affects their in-home recycling behaviour.”
The project will begin with a pilot of 2000 households, then plans to expand to over 100,000, which will process around 750 tonnes of soft plastic that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
Locations for the trial are currently under consideration.
Last month, Nestlé and Project Stop received government support to move forward with their sustainable waste management system in Indonesia.
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