In an Australian first, a group of companies have collaborated to produce the first soft plastic food wrapper made with recycled content.
Food-grade recycled soft plastic packaging is a key missing link in Australia’s bid to improve waste management and build a circular economy, with a lack of both collection and processing infrastructure making it difficult to keep waste out of landfill and impossible to meet demands for packaging with recycled content.
The prototype Kit Kat wrapper, which represents Australia’s opportunity to close the loop on recycling soft plastics, has been created by a coalition of companies with a shared vision.
The companies – Nestlé, CurbCycle, iQ Renew, Licella, Viva Energy Australia, LyondellBasell, REDcycle, Taghleef Industries and Amcor – brought their individual expertise together to collect and process waste soft plastic, turn it back into oil, and create the prototype wrapper.
Turning soft plastic back into oil is the only path plastic waste can take if it is to be transformed into a food-safe wrapper, the group of companies said in a press release.
“Manufacturers like Nestlé will have a key role in driving demand for food grade recycled soft plastic packaging and creating market conditions that will ensure all stakeholders throughout the value chain view soft plastics as a resource and not waste,” said Nestlé Australia chief executive Sandra Martinez.
To date, soft plastics collected in Australia have been made into products like outdoor furniture, added to road base or used in waste to energy.