Featured, Packaging, Sustainability

Metcash and 7-Eleven join soft plastics scheme

The National Plastics Recycling Scheme is an industry-led effort aims at recycling soft-plastics into food-grade packaging.

Grocery Council (AFGC) has applauded both Metcash and 7-Eleven for joining the industry’s collaborative effort to recycle soft plastics, making them the first retailers to support the initiative.

The industry-led National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), unprecedented in its scope and scale, aims to transform hard-to-recycle soft plastics destined for landfill into food grade packaging and other materials. 

This will be done through collecting household soft plastics from multiple collection channels, including kerbside, and plugging gaps in the recycling chain to create a truly circular economy and a long-term solution to recycling soft plastics.

7-Eleven and Metcash join over 40 brands including Nestle, Unilever and Fonterra who are committed to a robust circular economy for soft plastics. 

AFGC calls on all industries that use soft plastics including manufacturers and retailers of fashion and general merchandise to help resource this joint effort and build the processing infrastructure required to create a circular economy.

“We’re delighted to see Metcash and 7-Eleven joining this exciting industry initiative,” said AFGC CEO Tanya Barden. 

“Collaboration with all parts of the packaging and recycling supply chain is central to advancing a sustainable circular economy for soft plastics in Australia.”

“But supermarkets and food and grocery suppliers cannot do this alone. This is bigger than any single industry, so we need everybody on board.

The future success of the NPRS will allow participants to confidently access and make soft plastic packaging with recycled content for the Australian market. It fosters partnerships in the entire supply chain including recyclers, manufacturers, packagers, councils, waste collectors and retailers.

The AFGC commends the recent restart of a return-to-store soft plastics recycling trial in Melbourne by Coles, Woolworths and Aldi. 

AFGC sees this as an important milestone towards reviving consumer confidence in the system. Soft plastics recycling is a large and complex issue that will require a large scale and long-term response from all sectors.

The National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS) project is being developed by Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing industry with funding support from the federal government. 

The NPRS project is designing Australia’s largest industry-led plastics recycling scheme, taking hard-to-recycle soft plastic packaging out of waste streams and giving it new life.

This includes soft plastic packaging, bread and cereal bags, frozen vegetable packets, confectionery wrappers and plastic toilet paper wrap.

Collection will be through an expanded kerbside collection program where the bags are extracted from recycling streams at sorting facilities and sent for processing.

After being sorted, cleaned and shredded, separate soft plastic types are sent to advanced recycling facilities where high-tech processes break the plastic back down into oil – the same type of oil that plastic is made from in the first place.

That “plasticrude” oil is then ready to be made back into clean, food-grade plastic packaging.

The NPRS project will make it easier for people to recycle soft plastics at home and creates a new advanced recycling industry here in Australia that can turn used soft plastics back into new food-grade packaging. 

This creates a circular plastics loop and cleaner recycling streams for all materials, including paper and cardboard. The NPRS project unites brand owners, manufacturers, recyclers and consumers in one powerful, nationwide scheme to transform our plastics problems into circular solutions. 

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