Since the much-loved REDcycle scheme was paused In November last year New
South Walians across the state were left with a void in their kitchens. After
rewiring our brains to habituate the separation of soft plastics from our ‘general
waste’, the sudden change of having no where to drop them off was a shock to
the system. So, what did we do? Some of us kept separating soft plastics in the
hope that a solution would present itself soon. Some of us drastically reduced
our soft plastic consumption. While some of us were left with no option but to
revert to the old days of mixing them with our general waste, begrudgingly
sending them off to landfill.
While REDcycle continues to work with governmental and non-government
organisations to resolve the operational shortfall of the scheme, innovative
companies around Australia are throwing their ideas and solutions to the table.
RecycleSmart is one such company who is providing an outlet for hundreds of
thousands of households in Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Hunters Hill, Inner
West, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney, Penrith, Randwick, Sutherland Shire,
Waverley and Willoughby Council areas – and to really put the cherry on the
cake, you won’t even have to leave the house!
“We know that we are not solving the national soft plastics crisis, but at
RecycleSmart, we are all about testing new solutions quickly and having an
impact, like the 400 tonnes of resources we have kept in circulation to date. Also,
we believe that speed is of paramount importance to ensure people don’t lose
the healthy habit of recycling their soft plastics, so we wanted to act fast.” says
Giorgio Baracchi, RecycleSmart’s CEO and co-founder.
In a new partnership with APR Plastics, an innovative Australian recycling
company based in Victoria, RecycleSmart will collect your soft plastics and send
them to the APR plastics facility where they’ll be shredded, pyrolysis-ed (heated
without oxygen to unfathomably high temperatures – which is the perfect
environment to deconstruct stubborn polymers), and subsequently transformed
into oil. The oil will then be sold to Viva Energy to be refined and converted into
resin and then turned into flexible plastic once again – officially closing the loop.
Yes, you are right to be concerned about how much energy it takes for this
process to complete. The most beautiful feature of this piece of machinery APR
Plastics have sourced is that “it’s self-sufficient and uses the gases from the
plastic to power the machine. It generates no carbon emissions and no waste.”
And yes, we’re thinking the same thing, wouldn’t it be nice if everything worked
Managing Director of APR Plastics Darren Thorpe is determined to lead the way
in soft plastic recycling, saying ‘This process ‘plastics to oil’ has been
successfully used in Europe for 10 years. It is time for Australia to catch-up and
turn the 70 billion pieces of soft scrunchable plastics used here each year into a
huge opportunity and build a circular economy”.
We recently reached out to Darren who was brimming with excitement about the
potential of this technology and the sense of urgency felt from households across
Australia to act fast on getting viable long-term solutions to market. APR Plastics
are ambitious in expanding the scope of their operations with plans to open a
facility in NSW in the near future.
RecycleSmart are equally ambitious with the goal to make the service available
to all RecycleSmart users as soon as possible. If you are a resident of one of the
participating councils mentioned above, all you need to do is download the
RecycleSmart App and book in your soft plastic collection.
With innovative and collaborative companies such as RecycleSmart and APR
Plastics taking swift action to create a soft plastic circular economy, we at KAB
NSW are seeing light at the end of the plastic tunnel, and we hope you do to!
You can find out more at www.recyclesmart.com or www.aprplastics.com.au
Image source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/important-changes-soft-plastic-recycling-thresholds-joel-farrell/