RecycleSmart’s plastic recycling for Sydney councils – Australia

Posted on February 2, 2023 by DrRossH in Plastic Recycling


Recycling specialist RecycleSmart is starting a soft plastic recycling solution for residents in four councils in Sydney.

Launched in 2019, the Sydney-based startup collects tricky-to-recycle items, such as soft plastics, clothing, e-waste and more from residents’ homes and drops the items off to be recycled. The Power Pickup service is available in 16 councils.

Since the loss of the widespread soft plastics recycling scheme three months ago, the team could not just sit and wait…

“We know that we are not solving the national soft plastics crisis, but at RecycleSmart, we are all about testing new solutions quickly and having an impact, like the 400 tonnes of resources we have kept in circulation to date. Also, we believe that speed is of paramount importance to ensure people don’t lose the healthy habit of recycling their soft plastics, so we wanted to act fast,” says Giorgio Baracchi, CEO and co-founder of RecycleSmart.

Read more: Plastics ban comes into effect

The soft plastics will be taken to the APR Plastics facility in Victoria. Once shredded, it will be fed into a machine using pyrolysis (elevated temperatures with no oxygen). Manufactured in Germany, the self-sufficient and zero-waste system is a first of its kind in Australia. The oil will then be sold to VIVA ENERGY, to be turned into fuel and eventually flexible plastics again, creating a true circular solution.

“This process ‘plastics to oil’ has been successfully used in Europe for 10 years. It is time for Australia to catch-up and turn the 70 billion pieces of soft scrunchable plastics used here each year into a huge opportunity and build a circular economy,” says Darren Thorpe, Managing Director of APR Plastics.

Currently, this soft plastic recycling initiative is available to four councils: Penrith, Inner West, Burwood and Waverley as of the 30th of January. This is just the beginning. The end goal is to make this service available to all RecycleSmart users as soon as possible.