You might have seen in the news that RedCycle is now in liquidation and that Coles and Woolworths have offered to store the stockpiled soft plastics backlog that RedCycle has been unable to process.
But is this just greenwashing? Are the big supermarkets even pushing the packaging industry for change?
And really, what’s the point in storing it all? There is a tiny downstream market for recycled plastic. RedCycle was unable to find anyone to take it. It will be *years* before there’s a decent market for the thousands of tonnes of soft plastic in storage, let alone all the other plastic coming down the line.
Yes, change will happen eventually. There is a NSW Plastics Action Plan in place and the Australian packaging industry has committed to:
- use an average of 50% recycled content in plastic packaging,
- to make all packaging recyclable or reusable and
- to recover 70% of all packaging.
But change is voluntary and it is slow.
And 50% recycled content isn’t enough quite frankly – basic maths tells us that this target will not lead to a circular plastics economy.
To use an analogy, the bath is overflowing. Coles and Woolworths are trying to clean up the mess, but they are mopping up the floor with towels and then wringing those towels back out into the bath.
We need to turn off the taps. We need to stop new plastic being created.
Here’s some options:
- Buy your food in the biggest possible bag so that there’s less packaging overall
- Buy from a packaging-free store (like the Manly Food Co-op!) and avoid plastic packaging completely.
We understand these options may not be possible for everyone due to budget constraints, but if you can, please do.
If you are new to packaging-free shopping, check out our shop tour here. Our friendly staff and volunteers are also very willing to show you around.
Come to the shop on Wentworth Street, Manly soon and try it out!