Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Victoria invests in soft plastics recycling

The federal and Victorian governments will jointly invest $3 million in funding new soft plastics recycling infrastructure in Victoria. The grant funding to recycler iQ Renew will see a new recycling facility built in Altona, Victoria, which will process 30,000 tonnes of soft plastic into food grade soft plastic and washed flakes of low-density polyethylene, through the Recycling Modernisation Fund.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed the news, with CEO Tanya Barden saying the funding addressed a key requirement for closing the loop on soft plastics.

“This is another important step in the creation of a circular economy for plastics and supporting the growth of a new advanced recycling industry here in Australia,” Ms Barden said.

The AFGC is leading the development of a new recycling scheme for soft plastic packaging. The National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS) project is creating an industry-supported scheme that will make recycling packaging more effective with expanded kerbside collection. The project has already encouraged investment in new advanced recycling infrastructure, laying the foundations of a new domestic industry that can recycle soft plastics onshore into new packaging.

“Plastic packaging has an important role keeping food safe and fresh, reducing food waste and keeping products intact,” Ms Barden said.

“The NPRS project will increase the recycling rates of soft plastic packaging and reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging, helping to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets.”

The AFGC will soon conduct trials of kerbside collection with several local councils and welcomes the Victorian government’s move to include soft plastics in yellow-lidded recycling bins in coming years.
“This is an example of the collaboration, innovation and investment needed to create an effective and sustainable circular economy for plastic packaging in Australia,” Ms Barden said.

Australians use around 70 billion pieces of soft “scrunchable” plastics including food wrappers every year, but as little as 4% is recycled with the rest ending up as landfill or litter in the environment.

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