Becoming A Collection and Sorting Point

The Plastic Problem

Between 2018-19, 3.5 MILLION tonnes of plastics were consumed in Australia, with single-use plastics (SUPs) accounting for nearly 30% [1,2]. Of this 3.5 million tonnes, 60% were virgin plastics imported from overseas [3]. Ultimately, 84% of plastic used is sent to landfill and only 13% actually gets recycled with approximately 130,000 tonnes of plastic leaking into Australian marine environments each year [4,5]. According to UNSW, plastic makes up 84% of all rubbish found on Australian beaches with half of all debris related to land-based resources (such as landfill and littering) [6]. The scary thing is the use of plastics is set to increase globally around DOUBLE by 2040 [7].

Why Plastic Lids?

It is estimated that one MILLION plastic water bottles are sold every minute around the world, and this is just water [8]! Whilst the bottle itself is typically recyclable in curb-side recycling, the plastic lids are not due to the following:

  • They fall through the recycling machinery due to their small size, getting swept away to landfill
  • They can jam the processing equipment
  • They are typically made from different plastic polymers from their bottle counterparts, thus contaminating recycling loads
  • If left on their bottles, the machinery crushing the bottle can cause the lid to shoot off at high speeds, which creates a dangerous hazard for people operating the machinery

Because of these reasons, most councils do not accept lids left on their bottles, resulting in lids ending up in landfill. They also find their way into our environment, which can result from littering, falling off of the recycling truck, or being blown out of our curb-side bins. Plastic lids are ranked one of the top five types of litter found at beaches worldwide [9].

Despite being problem plastics for our curb-side recycling systems, bottle caps are typically made from highly recyclable plastic polymers, typically high-density polyethylene (HDPE – 2) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE – 4). Currently, only 3% of HDPE is recycled in Australia, but targets have been set to increase this to 8% and 20% in 2022 and 2025, respectively [10].

About Rethink Recycling Co-op

Rethink Recycling Co-op is educating Aussies and Aussie businesses not only why, but how to reduce single use plastic consumption. We partner with communities and businesses to create meaningful products from ‘waste’ plastic, rescuing bottle lids and other hard-to-recycle small plastics from landfill diverting reliance on imported virgin plastics and saving this valuable resource from local landfills and our oceans.

Rethink Recycling Co-op, in partnership with Puppets Alive, is taking action through community education and creating meaningful products from 100% locally-collected plastics. We support Australians and businesses in reducing their SUPs, divert reliance on imported virgin plastics, and look at ‘waste’ plastic as the valuable resource it is.

Through this partnership and to achieve our mission, we seek to establish collection points and sorting centres across Australian communities, rescuing lids from landfill and providing meaningful and purposeful activities to councils, aged care, retirement villages, disability services, and other community organisations.

  • Aligns with Montessori Principles
  • Caters for a Wide Range of Abilities
  • Improves Facility Sustainability Initiatives
  • Creates a Sense of Purpose
  • Connects with the Wider Community
  • Supports Allied Health Goals

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Interested in becoming a collection and/or sorting centre?


  1. Department of Environment and Energy, 2018-2019 Australian Plastics Recycling Survey, Envisage Works, Australian Government.
  2. World Wildlife Foundation and Boston Consulting Group, “Plastics Revolution to reality – A roadmap to halve Australia’s single-use plastic litter” (2020) page 11
  3. National Plastics Survey 2018-2019 page 4
  4. National Waste Report (2020) page 4
  5. World Wide Fund For Nature Australia and Boston Consulting Group, “Plastics Revolution to reality – A roadmap to halve Australia’s single-use plastic litter” (2020) page 4
  6. UNSW, 2021, Life’s a beach: Finding trends in marine debris across Australia, UNSW Newsroom,
  7. World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Co. “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics” (2016) page 7
  8. Reuters Graphics 2017, Drowning in plastic,
  9. PADI AWARE Foundation 2017, The ugly journey of a plastic bottle cap,
  10. Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation – Australian Packaging consumption and recycling data 2018-19. 2025 National Packaging Targets Organisation monitoring program.
  11. City of Monash, n.d., Environmental sustainability strategy 2016-2026, City of Monash
  12. Yaxley L 2017, Up to 40 percent of aged care residents get no visitors, ABC News,,-ken-wyatt-says/9085782
  13. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2013, Depression in residential aged care 2008-2012, Australian Government.