PREP Design, in partnership with O F Packaging, has developed a system to recycle semi-rigid plastics through the existing kerbside recycling system.
The system, called Roll ‘n’ Recycle, enables consumers to dispose of monopolymer semi-rigid pouches and bags in the kerbside recycling system to be sorted and recycled.
The programme requires consumers to roll their packaging and secure it with a specially engineered label before placing it into their co-mingled recycling bin for collection. The label will be affixed to the packaging during the manufacturing process.
Rolling the material makes it three-dimensional, enabling it to move through current recycling infrastructure as a rigid plastic container would.
To ensure clear communication to customers, relevant information would be placed on the pack, in addition to the label to ensure the process is followed correctly.
PREP Design founder and CEO Anthony Peyton said: “Whilst various programs are already minimising landfill, semi rigid plastics continue to be a problem and the introduction of Roll ‘n’ Recycle enables households and businesses to effectively dispose of these plastics with the convenience of the kerbside recycling bins without changing the resource recovery process.
“We are proud to bring such an exciting and innovative programme to the recycling landscape,” Peyton said.
O F Packaging, a founding partner of the Roll ‘n’ Recycle programme, has been involved in the programme’s trial and evidence gathering phase.
O F Packaging managing director Joe Foster said the programme is of interest both to O F Packaging and its clients.
“We’re all looking for more sustainable packaging solutions and innovations that can be utilised across the market. Every brand owner wants the highest quality of packaging protection for their product, but that packaging also needs to be recyclable,” Foster said.
“Creating the right material structures suitable for the Roll ‘n’ Recycle program was a challenge that we were happy to take on, removing the need for complex multi-laminates for a variety of market categories that are difficult to recycle.
“We at O F Packaging are passionate about the programme and have been involved from the early days because we genuinely think it’s a big step forward in diverting soft plastics from landfill.”
In 2019, PREP Design, in association with O F Packaging, conducted trials at Recycled Plastics Australia (RPA) in Adelaide. These trials confirmed that the pouches could be captured as part of the lightweights stream.
Consultations have confirmed there is a market demand for this recovered flexible plastic, especially when it is a mono-polymer material.
With that knowledge, a trial was conducted at the Suez Spring Farm MRF (materials recover facility) in June 2020 to assist in validating the claim that monopolymer pouches and other semi-rigid films can be recycled via kerbside when the consumer rolls up the pouch/film as directed.
Roll ‘n’ Recycle will launch alongside established programmes such as REDcycle, an already successful programme where mixed soft plastics can be returned to participating stores and placed in supplied bins, to be recycled.
Roll ‘n’ Recycle goes one step further than established programmes. It enables monopolymer flexible materials to be conveniently disposed of in household or business kerbside recycling bins to recover as much of this resource as possible.
For the Roll ‘n’ Recycle certification to be used on packaging, the following requirements must be met.
- Brand owners need to ensure they partner with a manufacturer who supplies packaging that is monopolymer “recycle ready” and satisfies Roll ‘n’ Recycle’s technical and style guidelines.
- Manufacturers must include the Roll ‘n’ Recycle sticker and logo on approved packaging.
- Consumers find and buy participating products that have been certified to display the Roll ‘n’ Recycle logo.
- Consumers follow the directions outlined on packaging by rolling and applying the supplied sticker where indicated.
- Consumers place the certified semi-rigid packaging into their household kerbside recycling bin ready for collection.
For more information about Roll 'n' Recycle, or to join the programme, visit its website, rollnrecycle.com.