Coles’ customers are now able to participate in a world-class recycling program which turns plastic products into recycled furniture for schools and kindergartens. In an Australian-first, Coles has partnered with the RED Group to develop the REDcycle Program, whereby Coles’ shoppers can hand their plastic bags and soft plastic packaging into dedicated bins in-store so they can be recycled into furniture for schools, kindergartens and other community groups.

The program sets new standards for recycling by diverting flexible plastic bags and packaging – such as biscuit packets, lolly bags, frozen food bags and bread, rice and pasta bags – from landfill. After a successful trial in Victoria in late 2011 and 2012, the program will be rolled out in 370 Coles’ city stores across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Coles Store Development and Operations Director Stuart Machin said Coles was delighted to roll out a program that tackled the long-standing challenge of “soft plastics” and had such far-reaching benefits for the environment.

‘In little over 12 months in Melbourne alone, Coles’ customers have ensured 9 million plastic packaging items has been diverted from landfill as part of our trial. So by rolling this program out locally and across the nation, the potential benefits are enormous,’ he said. ‘One of the best aspects of this collaborative program is that it gives twice – firstly by helping reduce landfill and then by developing recycled furniture which can be put to great use in schools and other areas of the community.’

RED Group Director of Development Elizabeth Kasell said the initiative was particularly exciting because it involved consumers, retailers, distributors and manufacturers all working together for a better end of life outcome for materials that were previously going to landfill. ‘Thanks to the efforts of Coles’ customers, we firstly receive the plastic packaging in supermarkets. RED Group then collects and processes the plastic before sending it to Replas to melt the plastic down, pour it into moulds and make the furniture, all right here in Australia’ she said.

To find out where your nearest participating Coles store is or for more information about the REDcycle Program, please visit’