Waste Management Review speaks to RED Group’s Rebecca Gleghorn about the success of its soft plastics recycling program.
The ABC’s War on Waste will return on Tuesday, July 24, to tackle new targets including plastic water bottles, straws, e-waste and furniture waste.
The series will also explore previous topics such as food waste and the recycling crisis.
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More than 4.3 million viewers watched the original series in 2017, which sparked one of the ABC’s most successful social media campaigns with a video on dumping edible bananas reaching 20 million views.
The series inspired Australians to get involved about waste management, with the Keep Cup crashing and sales rising by 400 per cent after the series, Woolworth and Coles announced lightweight plastic bags in the series, and reusable coffee cup scheme Responsible Cafes went from having 420 cafes to 1050 a week after the broadcast.
Craig Reucassel returns as host and aims to expose the effects of e-waste from discarded laptops, mobile phones and electronic goods in landfill.
ABC ME is also launching a new eight-episode series for children called Project Planet that aims to demonstrate how everyone can make a difference for sustainability.
ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist David Anderson said War on Waste highlights the ABC’s capacity to spark national conversations and drive community action and social change.
“The distinctively ABC series empowers people to take immediate steps to reduce their consumption of plastic and electronic goods, and wastage of coffee cups and food. Waste is a universal issue, it impacts everyone,” he said.
Coles has announced it will halve food waste across its supermarkets by 2020, make all packaging of Coles Brand products recyclable and reduce plastic wrapping on fruit and vegetables.
The company has pledged to divert 90 per cent of all supermarket waste, including food, cardboard and plastic, from landfill by 2022 and donate the equivalent of 100 million meals to people in need by 2020 by redistributing surplus food.
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The supermarket giant is also planning to begin phasing out the use of single use plastic bags in its stores on 1 July.
Removing double plastic packaging for fruit, selling bunched vegetables like kale and silver beet without plastic and removing plastic packaging from Coles Brand bananas are among the initiatives planned to reduce plastic waste.
Replacing the packaging for meat and poultry products with recycled and renewable materials and replacing single use fresh produce bags with 30 per cent recycled content are also part of Coles commitments.
The company will also provide its customers with an option to recycle soft plastics at every Coles supermarket across Australia, which can be turned into outdoor furniture and road base.
Coles Managing Director John Durkan said Coles wanted to lead the way in its commitment to the environment.
“We know that 69 per cent of customers say that we need to actively reduce waste and landfill through recyclable packaging and find alternative uses for waste,” he said.
“We are delighted to be the only Australian supermarket to sell own brand water bottles that are both 100 per cent recyclable and 100 per cent made from recycled materials. Now we are the first major food retailer in Australia to announce a target to make all of our own brand packaging recyclable by 2020, ahead of the Federal Government’s target of 2025.”
The company also plans to connect every Coles store with Food rescue program SecondBite, meaning surplus edible food from supermarkets will be redistributed to people in need.
Mr Durkan said connecting an additional 130 supermarkets to SecondBite will also divert further waste from landfill.
“By 2020, we want to provide the equivalent of 100 million meals to Australians in need. Since 2011, we’ve donated around 72 million meals to SecondBite and Foodbank so we’ve still got 28 million meals to go.”
Coles has also pledged that it will label all Coles Brand products with recycling information to assist consumers when it comes to disposing of their waste.