Last week Coles made the largest ever pour of Polyrok – concrete made with recycled soft plastic packaging – at its Cobblebank supermarket development.
The pour diverted more than 6.5 million pieces of plastic packaging from landfill.
Polyrok is made from plastic bags and soft plastic packaging recovered from the REDcycle program, which allows Coles shoppers to return what would otherwise go in the bin.
As it stands, only 10 percent of the 3.5 million tonnes overall of soft plastic thrown out by Australians each year is recycled, according to Clean Up Australia.
Coles is looking at opportunities to use the new technology in future developments. "We collect roughly 30 million pieces of plastic every month through our customer REDcycle program," says Victoria state construction manager Fiona Lloyd, "so there's a huge opportunity to use Polyrok in other Coles developments or other construction projects."
"We are proud to bring our expertise in civil and infrastructure engineering into the development of Polyrok," says RMIT civil and infrastructure engineering senior lecturer Dr Jonathan Tran. "The testing has shown this sustainable aggregate is robust and fit for purpose."
Coles first partnered with REDcycle and Replas in 2011 and was the first major Australian supermarket to have REDcycle bins in every outlet.
Coles Cobblebank is a supermarket development in Melbourne's west.