Woolworths shoppers have noticed a unique feature sitting both inside and outside of some of its supermarkets.
While they look ordinary, the green benches outside the stores have been made from recycled shopping bags.
'Take a seat and rest easy knowing this bench is made from recycled shopping bags,' a sign on one of the benches reads.
The bench had been made by the recycling network REDCycle using old shopping bags customers donated in soft plastics collection bins located in supermarkets.
However, due to an oversupply and stockpiling of plastics, REDCycle was forced to halt the collection program in November 2022, and was declared insolvent on Monday.
Woolworths shoppers have made spotted the benches outside the supermarkets are made from recycled plastic shopping bags
REDCycle teamed up with dozens of retailers across the country to collect soft plastics that would otherwise end up in landfill.
The plastics collected included the grey single-use shopping bags that were phased out in November 2021 as well as reusable green bags when they get old and worn, bread bags, biscuit wrap and frozen food bags.
Any plastic wrapper or container with a recycling symbol and 'return to store' label could be placed in the collection bins.
Bins were placed in supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths and shoppers embraced the initiative filling the bins with more than 5million plastic pieces each day.
'Take a seat and rest easy knowing this bench is made from recycled shopping bags' a sign on the bench read
The bench had been made by recycling network REDCycle using old shopping bags customers left in the in-store soft plastics collection bins so they didn't end up in landfill
'Once we started using REDCycle to recycle our soft plastics, our red-lid bin waste dropped significantly. So thankful for this program, it really made us notice how much single-use plastic we were using,' one Aussie said on Reddit.
The items including were given a second life and transformed into street furniture, benches, bollards and other items that can be used in stores and car parks.
However, customers were disappointed to learn the initiative had ceased operations late last year and the plastics now have to be discarded in regular household waste collections.
REDCycle was experiencing challenges with manufacturers and receiving 350 times more plastics than it needed to make the items in demand.
It landed itself in hot water when it was found to be stockpiling tonnes of plastic putting an end to the recycling collection and forcing Coles and Woolworths to dispose of the 5,200 tonnes of recyclables destined for REDCycle into landfill.
On Monday, it was announced REDCycle is now insolvent and it was wound up by order of the NSW Supreme Court.
However, due to an oversupply and stockpiling of plastics, REDCycle was forced to halt the collection program in November 2022 and was declared insolvent on Monday
Coles and Woolworths are working together and have offered take control of and safely store the stockpiled plastics from REDCycle until a solution is found.
Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group chief executive officer said the supermarket giant was 'disappointed' to learn REDCycle hasn't been recycling the soft plastics it collected but Woolies was 'working to make it right'.
'Coles and Woolworths have taken this step to provide reassurance to the public that the soft plastics they took the effort to deposit in REDcycle's bins won't be unnecessarily sent to landfill,' he said.
'We know this may take some time. We hope REDcycle will allow us to help get the best outcome for the environment, and restore community trust in our recycling systems.'
Matt Swindells, Coles Chief Operations and Sustainability Officer said the offer put to REDcycle is reflective of the commitment by both supermarkets to find the best environmental outcomes for the stockpiles and their customers.
'Our aim is to continue to work with governments and industry to find workable solutions to soft plastic recycling in Australia so our customers can resume the good work they've done over the past decade, in sorting their soft plastic and knowing that it will be recycled,' he said.
'Collectively Coles and Woolworths have paid more than $20 million to REDcycle over the last decade to ensure this would happen, and we remain deeply disappointed by the unrecycled stockpiles.'Read more here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/real-life/article-11800057/Shoppers-notice-Woolworths-benches-customer-donated-recycled-plastic-shopping-bags.html?ito=rss-flipboard