Newcastle residents can help prevent soft plastics from going to waste through a new, innovative kerbside recycling program.
City of Newcastle will become just the second council in Australia to take part in the Curby Soft Plastics Program, after an initial roll-out on the Central Coast last year proved popular.
The innovative initiative, which is run in conjunction with Australian recyclers iQ Renew and CurbCycle, gives residents a free, home-based option to recycle clean, soft plastics that are not able to be placed loosely in their yellow-lid kerbside bin, including shopping bags, chip packets, bread bags and bubble wrap.
Currently, these items can only be recycled through community drop-off sites such as the REDcycle bins found at selected supermarkets. The limited number of locations means that around 94 per cent of soft plastics across Australia still end up in landfill or being disposed of as litter, causing significant damage to the environment and marine life.
Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the Curby Program would complement City of Newcastle’s suite of waste-recovery initiatives, which are all designed to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
“City of Newcastle is focussed on the delivery of programs, education and infrastructure that will increase our capabilities for the recycling and reuse of waste products and reduce the amount of resources going to landfill, including the proposed development of a local recycling facility at Summerhill to cater to the yellow lidded bin,” Cr Clausen said.
“By weight, soft plastics make up a small component of the household waste that ends up at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre. However, given their lightweight nature, they can sometimes be picked up by the wind and escape into the environment, where they pose a serious threat to our native animals and marine life.
“While reducing the amount of soft plastic we use is the best solution for our environment, this program ensures residents also have a more convenient means of recycling their plastics, keeping them out of landfill and giving them a second life through their processing and conversion into a new material, which can be reused to make everything from low carbon cement to new plastic products and plastic film.
“There’s no better way to celebrate Global Recycling Day today than by signing up to take part in this innovative new program.”
The Curby Soft Plastics Program has over 11,000 participants on the Central Coast and collected more than 40 tonnes of soft plastics to date, which is the equivalent of about seven million plastics bags.
The free program will be rolled out in two stages in Newcastle, with applications open from today for the first 7,500 households to register before it is expanded to all local residents in the second half of the year.
iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said the success of the program so far demonstrates the need for convenient, kerbside recycling solutions.
“iQ Renew is a proud early adopter of the Curby program and we’re pleased to facilitate this innovation on behalf of the City of Newcastle,” Mr Gallagher said.
“Seeing thousands of Curby tagged bags arrive at our Material Recovery Facility is incredibly exciting and shows that our community wants to do more and do better when it comes to recycling.”
CurbCycle Director Gordon Ewart said that the City of Newcastle would be the first council to have trialled the Curby Program for coffee pods and now be using the yellow-lid bin for soft plastics.
“The Curby Program brings together councils, recyclers and leading brands that are looking to provide better solutions for community recycling to divert from landfill and have new products re- made in Australia,” Mr Ewart said.
“We are developing new features to ‘CurbyIt’ and we are delighted that we will now be able to make these available for the City of Newcastle community.”
Registered participants will receive bright yellow CurbyBags, which they can fill with clean, soft plastic packaging before tying them shut, attaching a special CurbyTag, which they scan with the CurbyApp before placing the bag in their yellow-lid bin for regular fortnightly collection.
Soft plastics must be inside a specially tagged CurbyBag to be recycled via the kerbside collection and must not be placed loose in yellow-lid bins. This allows them to be separated from other materials and prevents the contamination of other recyclables.