wmr-news-1216-nswgrants800

Two companies working to tackle plastic waste in Australia

Two Australian companies are working together to tackle the small amount of plastic waste that is processed in Australia.

The Guardian reported Replas and RED Group are collecting and processing soft plastic packaging.

In Australia, 300,000 tonnes of plastic waste is collected for recycling each year, according to the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association of Australia.

About 50 percent of the waste is sent overseas for processing and approximately 20 percent is reprocessed into pellets to be made into new products to also be sent overseas.

A recent report by the World Economic Forum estimated that the weight of plastics in the oceans will match that of fish by 2050.

Mark Jacobsen, director of marketing at recycling firm Replas told The Guardian technical challenges are not the main bottleneck for plastics recycling.

“Recycling in Australia is dead in the water,” he said.

“Unless people are willing to buy products made of their own waste.”

He said the whole economy has to change. Currently people still view plastic primarily as a waste product.

As a result, the company reportedly only accepts plastic waste from organisations willing to buy back the recycled products they make.

He said large supermarket chains, such as Coles and Woolworths, are some of those leading by example.

Some city councils are also incorporating recycled plastic into their operations, he said.

Replas partnered with RED Group some years ago, a Melbourne-based company that collect soft plastics for recycling through its REDcycle program.

The program collects and processes packaging separately, before sending it onto Replas for incorporation into their products.