Plastic wrap from Australian magazines and newspapers will be turned into park benches and school furniture as part of a major new recycling initiative.
Leading publishers including News Corp Australia have partnered with soft plastic collection company REDcycle to ensure all elements of their products can be reused and diverted from landfill.
Readers are being encouraged to drop off their plastic wraps to local Coles or Woolworths stores, where REDcycle bins collect material such as plastic wraps and bags that are later turned into park and school furniture, garden beds, exercise equipment, shopping trolleys and road products.
The initiative is aimed at creating a circular economy for print products and eliminating waste.
Chief executive of REDcycle, Elizabeth Kasell, said the aim was to keep plastics “out of our rivers, oceans and landfills”.
“It’s easy to drop off plastic wrap for recycling at REDcycle bins in Coles or Woolworths stores,” Ms Kasell said.
“Now, with Australia’s major newspaper and magazine publishers on board, we can save even more energy, resources and landfill space as well as potentially reducing litter.”
Media companies involved in the program include News Corp Australia, Nine, Seven West Media and Are Media, who were brought together by industry group ThinkNewsBrands.
The project was launched ahead of Global Recycling Day on March 18, with a national advertising campaign to alert Australians to the new environmental plan.
Australia’s publishing industry is a global leader when it comes to recycling printed newspapers, with two-thirds of products diverted from landfill.
ThinkNewsBrands environment director Dr Tony Wilkins said recycling newspaper and magazine plastic wrap “is a small step that will make a big difference” and could have a snowball effect.
“It’s one of these great 'contributing' things, where if you make it easier for people then they might say ‘I was going to recycle the bread bag and now I will take it all down to the supermarket’,” he said.
“I think it’s wonderful to see the industry working together to achieve these outcomes."
Dr Wilkins said the next step was to encourage Australians to buy products made from recycled soft plastics, “supporting a true circular economy”.
“We’re thrilled to partner with REDcycle and to help spread the word through our channels with news brands alone reaching 97 percent of Aussie adults.”