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Community engagement in REDcycle high with SA stores taking top spot

South Australia has taken the top spot in soft plastics recycling by returning the highest amount of soft plastics to Coles stores through the REDcycle program.

Figures from Coles’ 2019FY Sustainability report, revealed that a store in St Agnes, SA, saw 6,732kgs of soft plastics returned, followed by an SA store in Blackwood which saw 6,718kgs returned.

REDcycle is a program that allows consumers to take soft plastic back to stores, including Coles and Woolworths shops nationwide.

Replas, a RED Group partner, produces a range of great products using the recycled materials. Downer and Close the Loop also use the soft plastics in new municipal road infrastructure.

Coles’ Sustainability report also indicated that customers recycled 905 tonnes or 226 million pieces of soft plastics – including packaging such as biscuit packets, lolly bags, frozen food bags and bread, rice and pasta bags, which cannot be recycled through most kerbside recycling services.

The company gave a regional breakdown of the top 10 recycling stores as well as a state breakdown.

More than 266,600kgs of soft plastics were returned in Victoria; 254,392kgs were returned in NSW; followed by 152,281kgs in SA and the Northern Territory; 106,690kgs in Queensland; 29,231kgs in Tasmania; and 23,398kgs and ACT.

Coles chief property and export officer, Thinus Keeve, said the increase in use of REDcycle bins shows just how significant the issue of reducing waste has become for customers.

“We are seeing many people changing their habits to reduce waste that ends up in landfill.”

RED Group director of development, Elizabeth Kasell, said the beauty of this program is its simplicity.

“We’re not asking people to change their routines – it’s just a matter of remembering to take their plastic packaging with them next time they visit their local Coles supermarket,” Kasell said.

RED Group recovers and recycles more than 3 million pieces of soft plastic every week and is has recovered and recycled more than 380 million pieces of soft plastic since 2011.

All Woolworths stores across Australia also have a soft plastics recycling bin for customers to bring in soft plastics that can’t be recycled by household collection services.