Committee to consider soft plastic recycling options

·1-min read
Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

The South Australian parliament will investigate ways to tackle the recycling of soft plastics following the collapse of the REDCycle program.

The Liberal opposition's spokesperson for the circular economy Heidi Girolamo said REDCycle was a simple scheme that helped consumers keep plastic bags and packaging out of landfill.

It involved consumers returning their plastics to designated locations, including major supermarkets.

"With the collapse of soft plastics recycling by REDCycle, the connection between the well-meaning behaviour of environmentally conscious South Australians, and the ability to recycle their soft plastics, was lost," Ms Girolamo said.

"The new committee will investigate options to expedite and hopefully drive a sustainable solution."

REDCycle was wound up in November 2022 after it emerged plastics that  consumers had returned to supermarkets to be recycled were instead put into storage.

The retailers involved said they had no knowledge of what was really happening and have since found stockpiles at 44 sites in six states.

Coles and Woolworths took control of the stockpiles in late February and contacted the operators to make sure the plastic was being stored safely.

The supermarkets are searching for an alternative recycling scheme but have warned it could be a slow process.

The SA parliamentary committee will identify short and long-term opportunities and solutions to ensure soft plastics can be recycled.

It will also examine strategies to reduce soft plastic waste and consider if government funding had been sufficient to support businesses and councils in their recycling efforts.