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Soft plastics trial to solve a hard problem

Wednesday 27 October 2021
A partnership between AlburyCity and the private sector is adding another important piece to the recycling puzzle by finding a solution to the challenge of re-using soft plastics waste.

The Albury Waste Management Centre already recycles thousands of tonnes of hard plastics but until now, most soft plastic has had to go into landfill.

But that could largely be a thing of the past, thanks to a collaboration between council and local company, Plastic Forests.

The partnership aims to reduce the amount of soft plastic in landfill by working with small to medium businesses to separate, process and recycle soft plastic waste and turn it into useful products, such as garden edging, fence posts, and tomato stakes.

The plastic will be regularly collected from participating businesses, free of charge.

Up to 20 local businesses will take part, with their soft plastic waste being collected directly from their site and taken to Plastic Forests for processing.  Other NSW businesses are also encouraged to take their soft plastic to the collection point at the Albury Waste Management Centre for recycling.

The material to be recycled includes pallet wrap, plastic bags, sleeves, and bubble wrap.

Participating businesses will be able to reduce their waste disposal costs while gaining positive brand associations and supporting sustainability targets.

It is expected that 26 tonnes of soft plastic that would otherwise have gone into landfill will be recycled.

The trial will be run for six months, after which it’s hoped that a permanent collection service can be established for local businesses, with the possibility of extending this service to other councils in the Riverina and Murray region.

The trial, which is now under way, is funded through the Circulate Industrial Ecology Grant Program and AlburyCity. The project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority, Waste Less Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.

As the trial is funded by a NSW Government grant, only NSW businesses will be able to take part.