Council trials soft plastics recycling

Central Coast Council is trialling a kerbside soft plastics recycling scheme on 2,000 residents.

Boris Bolgoff

The trial aims to reduce the amount of soft plastics going to landfill.

The plastics will be sorted and recycled by iQ Renew using a system developed by Australian company CurbCycle, and won’t require new or additional services or facilities.

Participating residents will recycle soft plastics, such as plastic food wrappers, plastic bags, cling wrap or any plastic soft enough to be ‘scrunched’, in their yellow recycling bins and provide feedback.

The soft plastics will be tied in bags which will be separated from general recycling at iQ Renew’s Somersby facility before reprocessing.

The soft plastics will be shredded and used in chemical recycling and energy recovery, and to make other plastic products.

 Council has adopted a bilby called “Curby” to publicise the trial.

Technology getting better

Council’s Director Roads Transport and Drainage Boris Bolgoff says Council is excited to be piloting new ways of recovering soft plastics.

“Right now more than half of Central Coast residents’ household waste is sent to landfill, with soft plastics being common due to difficulties in separating it from other types of waste and recyclables and limited markets for the product,” he said.

But he said soft plastics were becoming more recyclable as technology improved.

Central Coast Mayor Lisa Matthews is hopeful the trial will help shape the future of soft plastic recycling nationally.

“This initiative will give the community an opportunity to participate in, and provide feedback on, whether this option is something we want to pursue moving forward,” Cr Matthews said.

If the trial is successful, Council will look to roll it out to all households across the Central Coast as part of our everyday waste collection service.

iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said he hoped to use the trial to offer soft plastics recycling more widely to local government.

“The trial will help answer a few questions – how will the community adopt this? Can we keep loose plastics out of other recyclables? Will the bags survive the truck? Can we use regular shopping bags?

“What we learn from this Curby trial will help CurbCycle offer this soft plastic recovery solution to more Councils around Australia,” he said.

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3 thoughts on “Council trials soft plastics recycling

  1. I hope “energy recovery” isn’t code for burning as I understand that burning plastics is a pretty toxic process which also generates CO2.

  2. A brilliant answer to the issue of soft plastics recycling. Most delivered items use of soft plastics. Plastic films as wrappers Like ice creams, biscuits, chocolate Bread and many other printed wrapping Bags and in everyday household items especially with the rise of home delivery where we shop online and the goods are delivered already in soft plastic wrapping with air cell or other plastic protective film fillers.

    With the rise of online shopping moving from a small activity to a significant delivery method. the recycling of soft plastic packaging that comes into domestic homes is a ongoing issue. initiative to curbside collection is the real solution to just polluting our general garbage cycle with Plastics that can and should be reused.

  3. This was trialled across 4 inner Melbourne councils a few years ago using the same ‘bag the bags’ type of recovery in the comingled. Unfortunately the infrastructure for recovery, recycling and onsale markets wasn’t mature enough to be able to keep the project going – especially when the recycling crises hit. Good luck and sounds like a a trial to keep an eye on!

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