New recycling tech to turn 6.5 million pieces of soft plastic into concrete

Image Credit: Replas @ReplasProducts

The project will be the largest-ever commercial application of the new Polyrock concrete technology.

Coles, in partnership with RMIT University, recycling organisation RED Group and mixed recycled plastic manufacturer Replas, will divert over 6.5 million pieces of soft plastic from landfills into ongoing supermarket development, the Australian retail giant announced earlier today.

Leveraging the new Polyrock concrete technology, plastic bags and soft plastic packaging recovered from the REDcycle program will be used as sustainable alternatives to aggregate minerals used in concrete.

Coles State Construction Manager Victoria Fiona Lloyd revealed that Coles collects roughly 30 million pieces of plastic monthly through the REDcycle program, “so there’s a huge opportunity to use Polyrock in other Coles developments or other construction projects.”

The Polyrock produced from this project will contribute to a Coles supermarket development at Cobblebank, Melbourne starting this week.

According to not-for-profit organisation Clean Up Australia, only 10 percent of the 3.5 million tonnes of soft plastic throw in the country are recycled yearly.

“We’re really proud of the work we’ve put in with REDGroup, Replas and RMIT to invest and develop this important sustainable technology designed to reduce our environmental impact,” said Lloyd.

The project, which will help repurpose more than 6.5 million pieces of soft plastic from landfills, demonstrates the technology’s potential to support a circular economy and future infrastructure projects.

“Replas has taken one of the most problematic plastics and turned it into a highly valuable, fit for purpose resource,” said Replas Managing Director Mark Jacobsen.

“We congratulate Coles for taking the steps towards a circular economy and for practicing sustainable procurement with Polyrok.”

The REDrecycle program, which now collects an average of 121 tonnes, has collected more than 1.3 billion pieces of soft plastic from landfill since 2011.