Coles has partnered with recycling organisations RED Group and Replas to install a concrete slab car park made partly out of recycled soft plastics.
Under installation at Coles Horsham in Victoria, the car park makes use of Polyrok – a sustainable alternative to aggregate materials, such as stone, used in concrete.
Made from plastic bags and soft plastic packaging recovered from the REDcycle program, Polyrock has the potential to divert more than 105,000 tonnes of soft plastics from landfill each year, if used in commercial concrete projects Australia-wide.
Fiona Lloyd, Coles' state construction manager in Victoria (pictured, right), says it's the first time the product has been used in a commercial setting.
"As one of Australia's largest food retailers, we know how important it is to support initiatives that help to close the loop with soft plastics," she says.
Coles, REDGroup and Replas worked with RMIT University throughout the development project.
Aside from keeping plastics returned to Coles supermarkets out of landfill, Polyrok reduces carbon footprints due to the reduced thermal mass it provides. "If innovative products like this were adopted in all buildings and car parks, the collective reduction in greenhouse gases would be enormous," says Replas joint managing director Mark Jacobsen (pictured, left).
Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans welcomed the collaboration to find innovative and practical ways to reuse soft plastics, saying "There is huge potential and opportunity for infrastructure projects to help us build a more circular economy."