A trial of kerbside soft plastics recycling has won new people over to ensure used plastic packaging is sent for recycling and stays out of landfill, according to new data from The National Plastics Recycling Scheme.

A survey of residents taking part in trials for the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), a soft plastics advanced recycling scheme being developed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, indicates people who had not used the now-defunct REDcycle store drop-off scheme have started recycling household soft plastics via kerbside collection.

Only six in 10 (60%) respondents said they had previously used store drop-off for their soft plastics, while a handful had used drop-off options at other locations, such as council depots.

When ranking their preference for an ongoing soft plastics recycling model, the NPRS model of putting soft plastics in a specially supplied bag and placing it in the household recycling bin was the overwhelming favourite. The NPRS model incorporates collecting soft plastics at the kerbside for recycling into new, food-grade plastic packaging as part of a new, onshore circular system.

AFGC CEO, Tanya Barden said while REDcycle had been valuable, store-return schemes could not be the solution for large-scale soft plastics recycling in Australia.

“While work is continuing on a short-term solution to REDcycle’s suspension, the NPRS project is a long-term solution dealing with large-scale collection and recycling. What store-return plastic recycling demonstrated is the dedication of Australians to recycling soft plastics. The NPRS is an industry-led scheme where the companies putting soft plastics into the marketplace are taking the lead and providing a real solution,” she said.