Newcastle residents can help prevent soft plastics from going to waste with an innovative new curbside recycling scheme.
The city of Newcastle will become just the second council in Australia to take part in the Curby Soft Plastics scheme, after an initial rollout on the Central Coast last year proved popular.
The innovative initiative, which is being run in conjunction with Australian recyclers iQ Renew and CurbCycle, provides residents with a free, at-home option to recycle clean, soft plastics that cannot be freely placed in their yellow lidded bin, including including purchases. bags, packets of chips, bread bags and bubble wrap.
Currently, these items can only be recycled through community drop-off sites such as the REDcycle bins found in some supermarkets. The limited number of locations means that around 94% of soft plastics in Australia still end up in landfills or are disposed of as waste, causing significant harm to the environment and marine life.
Deputy Mayor Declan Clausen said the Curby scheme would complement the City of Newcastle’s series of waste recovery initiatives, all of which are designed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
“The City of Newcastle is focused on delivering programs, education and infrastructure that will increase our waste recycling and reuse capabilities and reduce the amount of resources going to landfill, including the proposed development of a facility recycling center in Summerhill to answer the yellow lidded bin,” said Cr Clausen.
“By weight, flexible plastics make up a small portion 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 also ensures residents have a more convenient way to recycle their plastics, keep them out of landfills and give them back 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 films.
“There’s no better way to celebrate Global Recycling Day today than by signing up to participate in this innovative new program.”
The Curby Soft Plastics program has over 11,000 participants on the Central Coast and has collected over 40 tons of soft plastics to date, which equates to approximately seven million plastic bags.
The free scheme will be rolled out in two stages in Newcastle, with applications open from today for the first 7,500 households to sign up before it is extended to all local residents in the second half.
iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said the success of the program so far demonstrates the need for practical curbside recycling solutions.
“iQ Renew is an early adopter of the Curby program and we are delighted to facilitate this innovation on behalf of the City of Newcastle,” said Mr Gallagher.
“To see thousands of Curby-labeled bags arrive at our material recovery facility is incredibly exciting and shows that our community wants to do more and better when it comes to recycling.”
CurbCycle director Gordon Ewart said the City of Newcastle would be the first council to trial the Curby scheme for coffee pods and now use the yellow lidded bin for soft plastics.
“The Curby program brings together leading councils, recyclers and brands looking to provide better solutions for community recycling to divert from landfill and remake new products in Australia,” Mr Ewart said.
“We are developing new features for ‘CurbyIt’ and are delighted to now be able to make them available to the Newcastle City community.”
Registered attendees will receive bright yellow CurbyBags, which they can fill with soft, clean plastic wrap before tying, attaching a special CurbyTag, which they scan with CurbyApp before placing the bag in their lidded bin yellow for regular fortnightly collection.
Soft plastics should be inside a specially labeled CurbyBag for recycling via curbside collection and should not be placed loose in yellow lidded bins. This allows them to be separated from other materials and prevents contamination of other recyclables.
Interested households can sign up at www.curbyit.com/softplastics or by downloading the Curby app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.