At Thinkpac, we’re deeply committed to sustainable practices and environmental protection. As an importer of products made with Australian sourced plastic materials, we’ve always upheld the belief that plastics, when managed correctly, can be part of a sustainable ecosystem. But recent events, as highlighted in the recent media release, remind us of the challenges we continue to face, notably the disappointment that follows when major recycling programs, such as the REDcycle program, hit unexpected obstacles.
The revelation of 3,000 tonnes of soft plastic discovered in Melbourne warehouses has undoubtedly shaken public confidence in soft plastic recycling, an issue close to Thinkpac’s heart. The warehouses in question, spread across Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, including Williamstown North, Truganina, Tottenham, West Footscray, Campbellfield, and Tullamarine, had become unintentional storage sites for vast amounts of post-consumer plastic waste.
Reviving Trust in Recycling
The pause in the REDcycle program is a setback that has impacted not only the recycling scheme but also the broader perception of environmental initiatives. It’s crucial now, more than ever, that we reinforce the viability and necessity of plastic recycling. As consumers, we need to ensure our plastic waste ends up where it belongs—in recycling bins destined for recycling and not warehouses—and it’s important that recycling programs are robust, transparent, and accountable. The recent findings have stirred questions about where our waste goes, and as a company dealing with plastic materials, we are here to assist where possible.
Why did the REDcycle program pause?
The REDcycle program was a pioneering recovery initiative for post-consumer soft plastic, giving consumers a place to return their plastic waste. It has been paused because REDcycle announced they could no longer offload the material they were collecting—a situation that highlights the critical need for robust end markets for recycled plastic.
What is the EPA doing about the situation?
The Environment Protection Watchdog (EPA) is taking an active role in resolving the situation. The regulatory body is inspecting all sites storing soft plastic in Victoria using their powers, mitigating fire risks, and investigating possible additional storage sites, both in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia. These investigations help maintain public safety and environmental health.
What is REDcycle’s stance now?
Despite the current obstacles, REDcycle has affirmed its commitment to resolving the issue. They have been and will continue to assist the EPA with investigations, aiming to convert the stored soft plastic into a resource for the greater good. This commitment aligns with Thinkpac’s own dedication to turning plastic materials into desirable and needed resources, instead of them ending up in landfill.
Although these recent developments have provoked concerns, it’s important to remember the goal: creating a circular economy for plastics so they don’t end up in landfill or oceans as waste. This is why Thinkpac remains committed to sourcing Australian recycled plastic materials, offering products that align with our environmental ideals, and supporting the efforts of global recycling infrastructure.
We view this moment as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to responsible plastic use and management and to strengthen public faith in recycling systems. Together, we can turn setbacks into stepping stones towards a more sustainable future.