A red and green apple in a soft plastic bag. Photo: Sophie Marston/Unsplash

Soft plastics in the spotlight as iAccelerate holds community meeting

Soft plastics in the spotlight as iAccelerate holds community meeting

Expert panel to facilitate discussion on how to address complex issue of recycling and waste

The proliferation of soft plastics, and how to effectively dispose of them, is one of most urgent and complex problems facing modern society. Following the recent reports that the soft plastic recycling scheme REDcycle has paused its collections from supermarkets around the country, the need for a solution to this thorny issue has become even greater.

A University of Wollongong-facilitated (UOW) community meeting next week (Monday, 5 December) will place a spotlight on the problem to ensure that soft plastics do not continue to end up in landfill.          

Hosted by UOW business incubator iAccelerate and the Social Enterprise Council of NSW & ACT (SECNA), ‘Soft Plastics Recycling in the Illawarra’ brings together stakeholders from across the region’s academic, business, government, and non-profit organisations to find a way forward.

iAccelerate Director Dr Tamantha Stutchbury said plastics waste is one of the most critical issues facing the world, with microplastics found in practically every ecosystem on the planet, including humans.

“Plastics of all kind are not just a problem for marine environments, they are a problem for all environments. We need to find a solution to addressing the life cycle of soft plastics, to ensure that they don’t just end up in landfill. This is a huge, complex and multifaceted problem that demands multidisciplinary perspectives from across the community,” Dr Stutchbury said.

“Plastics are not just a problem for one section of the community or the world. They are a problem for everyone, so bringing together different strands of the business, academic, policy, and environmental community is the only way we can start to formulate a solution.”

Featuring experts from the fields of business, politics, sustainability and academia, the panel will facilitate a community discussion that focuses on the current state of play, the challenges and opportunities, and how the Illawarra community can contribute to the solution.

The panel will feature:

  • Host: Dr Tamantha Stutchbury, Director, iAccelerate
  • Facilitator: Kylie Flament, CEO, SECNA and Expert in Residence, iAccelerate
  • Helen Lewis, Adjunct Professor, Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, and plastics and packaging consultant  
  • Steve Morriss, Founder, Close the Loop (recycling)
  • Kathy Giunta, Director (Circular Economy Programs), NSW Environmental Protection Authority
  • Peter Windley, Waste Operations Coordinator, Shoalhaven City Council
  • Suzanne Haddon, Founder, Rooland (sustainable packaging)
  • Professor Geoff Spinks, Head of School, Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering, UOW
  • Lisa McLean, CEO, Circular Australia
  • Andrea Polson, Marketing Director, Licella (recycling)

The community meeting runs from 1pm to 3pm, at iAccelerate, at UOW’s Innovation Campus in North Wollongong. It is open to the public, who can attend in person or online. For more information or to get tickets, visit: https://events.humanitix.com/soft-plastics-recycling-community-meeting


About iAccelerate

iAccelerate is an incubator and accelerator for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and scale-ups, within the world-class University of Wollongong. Residents are supported by a robust model of education, mentoring, seed funding and unparalleled access to the University. 

About the Social Enterprise Council for NSW & ACT

The Social Enterprise Council for NSW & ACT is a sector-led peak body that represents the interests of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises across NSW & ACT. Social enterprises are businesses, for good. They trade like any other business but exist specifically to make the world a better place, socially and/or environmentally.