Coles reveals which suburbs are best and worst at recycling plastics

As the war on plastic waste rages on, Coles has revealed which suburbs are the best and worst at recycling soft plastics at their local stores.

The supermarket giant released the data as part of its Sustainability Report, which revealed shoppers have made a conscious effort to reduce their plastic waste, with a 32 per cent increase of soft plastics returned to store on the last financial year.

That significant rise equated to 226 million pieces of soft plastics or 905 tonnes.

Soft plastics are plastic products that cannot be placed in kerbside recycling bins. These include soft items such as plastic bags, bread bags and other food bags used for products such as pasta and lollies.

The soft plastic collected in REDcycle bins at Coles supermarkets is used as a raw material by Australian manufacturers, Replas and Plastic Forests.

It is converted into a range of uses, including playground benches, garden edging, park walkways, bollards and the customer seats used in Coles supermarkets.

Shoppers placing soft plastics in a REDcycle bin outside a Coles store. Source: Coles
In-store recycling has increased for Coles this year. Source: Coles

The top performing suburb with a Coles store in Australia was St Agnes in northeast Adelaide. Shoppers in this suburb returned 6732 kilograms of plastic last financial year.

South Australia’s capital had four suburbs in the top 10, with Blackwood second and Burnside and West Lakes ninth and tenth respectively.

Melbourne’s best performing suburb, and fifth overall, was Yarraville in the inner-west. Shoppers brought back 5940 kilograms of plastic.

For Sydney, Hornsby in the city’s north ranked highest while placing sixth overall. The store received 5875 kilograms of plastic last financial year.

Queensland’s best performing store was Kenmore with 2506 kilograms of plastics returned.

WA’s number one store was Inglewood with 2710 kilograms brought back.

A photo of the St Agnes Coles store in Adelaide. The best performing recycling store in Australia. Source: Google Maps
St Agnes in Adelaide was Coles' best performing store. Source: Google Maps

“The increase in use of REDcycle bins shows just how significant the issue of reducing waste has become for customers,” Coles Chief Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve said.

“We know that recycling is important to our customers, and we are seeing many people changing their habits to reduce waste that ends up in landfill.”

Coles’ worst stores for soft plastic recycling

Coles shopping  trolleys. South Australia was the best state for recycling in Coles. Source: AAP
South Australia was the best state for recycling in Coles. Source: AAP

But the data also names and shames the suburbs not doing their bit to recycle soft plastics, which may prompt residents to take recycling seriously. Similarly, a WA council hoped to introduce transparent waste bins to expose badly-behaved residents.

Deer Park in Melbourne was named as the suburb with the least amount of plastic recycled at Coles, just 10 kilograms for the year.

The top 10 of worst recycling suburbs were entirely from Queensland and Victoria.

Melbourne’s Roxburgh Park and Malvern were second and third with 24 kilograms and 37 kilograms respectively.

Fourth on the list was Queensland’s Ripley Valley with 44 kilograms returned for the year.

Sydney’s worst performing store was in the CBD at World Square, collecting 139 kilograms for the year.

All of NSW’s top 10 were in Sydney with Wynyard second, the affluent Rose Bay fourth and Bondi Junction sixth.

South Australia showed once again it was taking its recycling seriously, with only four stores not to reach the 1000 kilogram mark.

Its worst store was Paralowie with 411 kilograms.

And while the REDcycle scheme appears to be a success, there are still doubts from experts that the single-use plastic bag ban last year is actually working.

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