Few events in waste have captured our attention in recent months like REDcycle’s suspension of soft plastic collections. It has been dubbed a ‘collapse’ and has been referred to as a ‘crisis’, ‘debacle’, ‘shock’ and a ‘botched plastic bag recycling program’.
Like many things though, the pandemic came along and caused a significant strain for the REDCycle system. With online shopping booming, plastic wrapping and consumer participation soared with collection volumes increasing more than 350 per cent since 2019.
Unforeseen challenges, exacerbated by the pandemic, soon meant that REDCycle’s recycling partners were unable to accept and process the rapidly increasing volume of soft plastics due to lack of immediate access to infrastructure, processing capacity, and most importantly demand for recycled products. Read more here: https://redcycle.net.au
Whilst the media is talking about the stockpiling and failings of a company that was single-handedly trying to solve a huge problem, we should be focusing on the real failings of the packaging industry. This being the lack of legislation to mandate recycled content in products and responsibility on producers of plastic packaging to take back the material, through a product stewardship scheme which invests directly in facilities that will accept and remanufacture it into recycled packaging.
But why stop at packaging? For other major categories of goods – from consumer goods to building materials, fridges to fit-outs. Design products to last and provide access to affordable repair to extend product life as long as possible (including right to repair legislation), design for disassembly and repair, and mandate collection logistics and resource recovery for end-of-life materials. This is where the most significant economic and environmental gains will be made.
Government and corporate sustainability strategies are moving quickly to include circular economy principles that cost-effectively increase material efficiency and social equality while reducing embodied carbon emissions and regenerating ecosystems and biodiversity - Justin Bonsey – principal consultant, circular economy at Edge Environment
Read more here: https://www.insidewaste.com.au/the-redcycle-crisis-that-never-was/
“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”
Quote by Pete Seeger – Folk Singer & Social Activist