While many are currently taking their first steps towards reducing their plastic use during Plastic Free July, one Lake Macquarie woman has spent the past five years passionately trying to keep the product from landfill and waterways.
Samantha Cross established Plastic Police in 2015 as a personal project after she felt "inundated" by soft plastic in her own home.
"I thought 'if this is a problem for me, it's probably a problem for others'," she said.
She approached her children's school, Biddabah Public, about collecting soft plastic to have converted into an outdoor bench seat.
Twelve months later the school had collected enough plastic to stretch from Warners Bay to the Central Coast, which was then turned into an outdoor seat for the school.
Since then the Plastic Police project has expanded to include more than 25 organisations including schools, councils and businesses.
"People are contacting us from every state wanting to be involved," Ms Cross said.
Ms Cross said as well as collecting and re-purposing soft plastics, the organisation aimed to educate people about the product and encourage them to reduce or eliminate usage.
"We need to raise awareness that these products don't break down," she said. "Soft plastics are unable to be recycled kerbside and over 60 per cent of it goes into landfill.
"But where it can't be avoided, we want them to come back as products.
"Recycling only occurs when people buy back recycled materials. It's a circular economy solution.
"We want to catch them before they go into landfill or waterways."
Soft plastics collected in the program are being used by Downer to create an asphalt additive. The product is currently being sourced in road construction on the Central Coast.
Ms Cross said it was amazing to see how far Plastic Police had come since she first started the project on her own in 2015. She has since been able to bring a second eco-warrior, Lexi Crouch, on board to help deliver the program.
But Ms Cross said the concept had only been able to thrive due to all the "champions" who had felt empowered to do something to reduce plastic waste.
"A lot of people have been inspired to act, this gives them that opportunity to take action," she said.
"We've all got a role to play - the actions of many individuals add up.
"It has been a journey, it hasn't been easy but it's all been about collaboration. One person won't come up with the solution. It takes many people."
For more information about the initiative, visit plasticpolice.com.au.