the main points
- Sustainability advocates say RED cycle stops should be a warning to reduce reliance on soft plastics.
- Only a small percentage of the soft plastics used in Australia were recycled through the scheme.
- The founder of Plastic-Free July says that the use and regulation of plastic production is required.
Sustainability advocates say this should be a wake-up call for more meaningful action to tackle plastic waste in Australia.
REDcycle allegedly gave supermarkets a ‘free pass’
Waste educator Lindsey Miles told SBS News REDcycle it was a “free pass” for supermarkets that served as collection points for recyclers.
Sustainability advocates say consumers need to be given better choices when it comes to packaging. source: GT / Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd
“They used it to say, ‘Look, we’re doing something,'” she said.
“Instead of looking at their packaging and systems, and trying to reduce their use of plastic or change the way they work, they shift the burden to us and make dealing with it our problem,” Miles said.
The waste hierarchy shows the different waste management options arranged according to the best option for the planet.
Waste reduction comes from avoiding using something and reusing items before recycling in what is known as a waste hierarchy.
“As a society, we don’t buy disposable plastic because we love it, we buy it because everything comes from it smothered,” she wrote in a blog.
Call to organize plastic production
It is cheaper for companies to produce new plastic, and there is a lack of regulation to prevent it, said Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of the Free Plastic July Project.
Plastic-Free July Foundation and Plastic-Free Foundation Executive Director, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz. source: supplied / Tashi Hall
“Plastic producers, manufacturers and brand owners are able to use virgin [newly produced] plastic because it is cheaper and easier to use than recycled content.”
“We need legislation that requires trademark owners to use recycled content and for the industry to be responsible for packaging for the life of this item, just as we do with container filing schemes.”
“Selling cleaning products as concentrates where water is added at home is another good way to reduce the total amount of packaging,” she said.
What is the future of soft plastic?
In the same period, the goal is to make 100 percent of packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable and for packaging to consist of an average of 50 percent recycled content.