Our story with soft plastics began with an episode of War On Waste, where it was declared, to our surprise and disappointment, that soft plastics are not recyclable through regular curb-side recycling in the ACT. We hold the view that our waste is our problem. If we create it, we are the ones responsible for disposing of it in the best possible way. And we don’t kid ourselves – waste does not magically disappear once it lands in the bin.
Let’s backtrack a little. What is a soft plastic? We won’t get too technical. For our purposes, and maybe for yours too, a soft plastic is one that you can scrunch up in your hand. In fact, that’s what we call the “scrunch test” when instructing our team to separate various types of waste into their respective bins.
At the café, we come across soft plastics such as glad wrap (only when absolutely necessary), plastic packaging that comes wrapped around retail items and bulk foods, and kitchen gloves. Despite getting in touch with our suppliers and looking for alternative materials that ensure freshness and hygiene, we have not yet been able to completely eliminate soft plastics from our venues.
Luckily, the RedCycle program offered by Coles offers a recycling solution for this cheeky material we secretly wish didn’t exist but are bound to regardless. We collect soft plastics and drop them off weekly to our nearest Coles.
The reality of small business is that extracurricular jobs such as this one are volunteer gigs. Hopefully the responsibility of disposing soft plastics, organic matter and all forms of waste will one day no longer be optional. If all waste could be treated just as recycling or general waste is today, we’d be over the moon.
In the meantime, you can do your part by sorting through your bin and collecting all “scrunchable” plastics. Take them to your nearest Coles and feel goooooddddd about yourself. Repeat.