REDcycle Update 18 NOVEMBER 2022

18 November 2022

Following REDcycle's temporary suspension of its soft plastic packaging collections, industry needs to come together to reinstate a scheme that has integrity and long-term economic viability. 


Importantly, this needs to happen quickly to rebuild community trust in on-pack “return to store” claims and the recycling system at large.


With that in mind, the following activities have been taken and are underway:


Early last week, APCO commenced an independent review of the market for soft plastic packaging collected by REDcycle, along with processing capacity currently available, committed but not yet commissioned, and planned. These findings will be used to develop pathways forward to reactivate collections and recycling. Key stakeholders across the system are being interviewed as part of the process. The review will be completed next week.

The ACCC has been briefed and lines of communication established to support open and timely dialogue and feedback with the regulator. Items discussed include the ACCC’s imperative to protect consumers from greenwashing and misleading and deceptive claims from labelling, along with environmental, economic, and operational impacts for brand owners if they are required to remove or change on-pack messaging at short notice. These challenges will be mitigated through the quick recommencement of collection services and keeping the public informed of developments. 

Tanya P., Minister for the Environment and Water, is supportive of an industry-led dialogue, pending ACCC’s authorisation of supermarkets convening to discuss short term solutions. We expect there to be a broader industry taskforce to work on medium to long term soft plastics solutions.

Actions moving forward for APCO


Following ACCC authorisation, APCO will support the supermarkets’ dialogue to develop a pathway forward to reinstate soft plastic collection solutions as soon as possible and consider the economics, pricing and governance model needed to support soft plastic recovery and recycling moving forward. Broader industry engagement will occur as required to support this. 

The resulting program will be submitted to the ACCC for the Commission to review and endorse. Depending on the timeframe involved in recommencing the collection and recycling of soft plastics, this submission may need to include a request for the Commission to provide industry with a period of grace from claims of misleading or deceptive labelling for existing packaging. Once endorsed, the agreed program will be activated and can be communicated to the community.

APCO will issue a weekly update each Friday to keep Members updated. This will include key messages that you might want to communicate to your stakeholders.


Actions moving forward for Members


While the above activities are underway…


It is recommended that brand owners develop and activate communication plans to ensure your customers understand that industry is working on a solution, will keep you updated, and let you know when a recycling solution is available. In the meantime, soft plastic packaging should be disposed of in the waste bin until advised otherwise.

It is recommended that supermarkets continue to communicate to the public through prominent signage in-store and at collection points that soft plastic packaging is not being collected in store for recycling until advised otherwise.

All Members should consider how they can support the recycling economy. Without demand for post-consumer recycled content in products and packaging, there is no circular economy for plastic packaging.