Australian food and drinks giant Lion has become the first major brewer in Australia to partner with REDcycle – a national soft plastic recycling initiative that collects over 750,000 pieces of soft plastic per day, including bread bags, frozen vegetable bags, biscuit packaging, and shrink wrap from beer packaging.
REDcycle – which collects and reuses soft plastics that cannot go into kerbside recycling – has almost 2,000 drop-off bins located around Australia at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets, giving over 90% of the Australian population access to a REDcycle bin.
The recovered plastic is then sent on to local partners, Replas in Victoria for conversion into valuable products such as benches and bollards, or Close The Loop, also in Victoria, who blend the soft plastic with waste ink toner to create an additive for asphalt for municipal roads.
Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said the partnership with REDcycle will see the company add the REDcycle logo to its soft plastic packaging over the next 18 months, a process which it has recently commenced.
“For more than 20 years, Lion has invested in reducing litter, improving recyclability and increasing the use of recycled content in our packaging,” Mr Irvine said.
“In the beer industry, plastic rings have been a real focal point in the war on plastic, and Lion was well and truly ahead of the curve in phasing out these rings 10 years ago, with the last plastic rings removed from Lion-owned products over three years ago. This is something we are very proud of.
“We are now evaluating alternative packaging technologies to further reduce our reliance on single-use plastics. We are also working with industry partners, such as the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, to develop broader industry solutions that minimise the impact of our packaging and promote the circular economy to minimise waste in the environment. While we work our way through these big supply chain changes, actively supporting programs such as REDcycle helps raise awareness and encourages our consumers to ramp up their recycling efforts.”
Director of RED Group Elizabeth Kasell said the REDcycle program would not be possible without the support of companies such as Lion.
“We are so pleased to see organisations demonstrate their commitment to corporate stewardship and the circular economy by partnering with REDcycle for a better end of life outcomes for their soft plastic packaging,” Ms Kasell concluded.