Australian supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths have offered to take responsibility for stockpiled soft plastic following the collapse of REDcycle, Australia’s leading soft plastic recycling scheme.

REDcycle suspended its soft plastics collection programme on 9 November after its recycling partners temporarily stopped accepting and processing soft plastics.

The retailers have offered to extend their support for the scheme after meeting with the Soft Plastics Taskforce, which was formed following REDcycle’s suspension.

They will provide safe material storage to prevent customers from depositing it into landfill while recycling solutions are explored.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said: “Coles and Woolworths have taken this step to provide reassurance to the public that the soft plastics they took the effort to deposit in REDcycle’s bins won’t be unnecessarily sent to landfill.

“We know this may take some time. We hope REDcycle will allow us to help get the best outcome for the environment and restore community trust in our recycling systems.”

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By GlobalData

REDcycle said it welcomed the support and collaboration from Coles and Woolworths.

The recycling company currently controls storage arrangements for soft plastic across numerous locations.

Coles and Woolworths will require its co-operation to access and manage the stockpiles.

Coles chief operations and sustainability officer Matt Swindells said: “Our aim is to continue to work with governments and industry to find workable solutions to soft plastic recycling in Australia so our customers can resume the good work they’ve done over the past decade, in sorting their soft plastic and knowing that it will be recycled.”

The offer from Coles and Woolworths came as the Soft Plastics Taskforce plans to publish a roadmap in the coming weeks.

The retailers will also work with the relevant state environment protection agencies (EPAs) to ensure their storage arrangements fulfil the required safety measures.