Coles and Woolworths have been granted additional time to manage REDcycle waste in hopes of diverting it from landfill.

Coles and Woolworths have been granted an additional ten months to address thousands of tonnes of soft plastic waste left stranded by the collapse of REDcycle. Over 5,000 tonnes of stockpiled soft plastics have been warehoused since the industry-led recycling program failed in late 2022.

Since REDcycle’s collapse, Australians have had no other national “return-to-store” soft plastics program, eliminating the primary avenue for recycling items like plastic bags, food wrapping, and soft parcel packaging. The supermarket giants took responsibility for the stranded waste in February last year and were issued urgent cleanup notices after the stockpiles were deemed significant fire hazards.

The Environment Protection Agency in NSW has now extended the deadline by ten months, hoping this additional time will prevent the waste from ending up in landfill.

“We know the public, who diligently collected and dropped off their soft plastics, has been disappointed in REDcycle, and the best outcome for this material is to see it recycled and reprocessed,” said EPA operations director Adam Gilligan. “Revising the time period gives the supermarkets an opportunity to secure a solution for the material so that the vast majority doesn’t end up in landfill.”

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