Bread giant Helga's launches recycling push for supermarket shoppers

·News Reporter
·4-min read

Bread brand Helga's is continuing to prioritise steps to sustainability, now encouraging customers to think twice before throwing out their bread bags and tags.

Back in September, the bread brand made the eco-friendly move to eliminate plastic bread tags and introduced 100 per cent recyclable cardboard bread tags across its range.

Additionally, the brand introduced 100 per cent recyclable packaging on their loaves, rolls and wraps.

In an equally eco-friendly move, fellow Aussie bread brand TipTop announced back in November 2020, it would be eliminating all of its plastic bag tags replacing them with paper.

The rollout will be done nationally within the next two years.

A woman chooses bread in supermarket aisle.
Helga's bread is encouraging customers to recycle their bags. Source: Getty Images

But recent research has found that while the bread bags and tags are recyclable, consumers don’t know how to recycle them.

Helga’s is now encouraging customers to recycle their bread bags by using the REDcycle bins - designed specifically for soft plastic recycling - located at Coles and Woolworths stores.

“By designing for recycling and communicating clearly, Helga’s can help consumers by educating them on how to best participate in and understand recycling options available for their plastic packaging,” Belinda Elworthy, Helga’s Head of Retail Marketing & Category, said in a statement.

“To be kinder to our planet, we're encouraging Helga's lovers to make small changes; starting with collecting and recycling bread bags, which could help to recycle more than 62 million bags per year.”

Helga's bags, which say they are 100 per cent recyclable.
Helga's have also announced eco-friendly changes to their bread packaging including paper bread tags. Source: Helga's

Recent research found that 46 per cent of bread shoppers don’t recycle their bread bags. Of those, 75 per cent said they didn’t know they could recycle their bread bags.

Dad of two Benjamin Saunders said while his family of four do recycle other items, they didn't realise how to recycle their soft plastics.

“I am very used to recycling cans and bottles but I never thought of recycling the bread bag, it’s always something I’ve put in the bin,” he said.

Meanwhile, those who do recycle were confused about the best way to do it with many unsure how to use the REDcycle bins.

A REDcycle bin being used by three people holding Coles bags.
Helga's is encouraging customers to take advantage of the REDcycle bins to recycle their soft plastics. Source: Coles.

What you need to know about recycling soft plastics

So what exactly are considered soft plastics? Surprisingly, there’s a lot you can recycle in the REDcycle bins.

The most common household items that are soft plastics include bread bags without the tie, cereal box liners, chip and cracker packets, chocolate and snack wrap bags, dry pet food bags, fresh produce bags, pasta bags, snap-lock bags and frozen food bags.

Some of the products that can’t be recycled in the REDcycle bins include rigid plastic food trays, black plastic bags and plastic drinking straws.

Unlike some recyclable products, soft plastics don't need to be washed before being recycled, however, they do need to be empty and dry.

Surprisingly, when it comes to recycling cardboard bread tags, it’s important to note that they are too small to be recycled on their own and should be placed into another item, like a used envelope.

An Australasian Recycling Label showing a box is recyclable, the wrapping is recyclable in-store and the lid is not recyclable.
The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) can be found on products with clear instructions on how they can be recycled. Source: Australian Government

New labels clear up confusion

Product packaging that can be recycled through REDcycle contains the new Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) symbols or the REDcycle logo.

These labels have been specifically designed to make it easier for consumers to put the right packaging in the right bin.

Endorsed by all Australian Governments, the new labelling aims to remove confusion, save time and reduce waste going to landfill.

While these new labels have started being rolled out, not all packaging contains the logo yet.

Customers can check the REDcycle website for the full list of what’s considered soft plastic.

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