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New APCO guidelines improve sustainable food service packaging

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) launched the Food Services Packaging Sustainability Guidelines at the Australasian Waste and Recycling Expo (AWRE) expo on Thursday.

The guidelines, which were launched at the expo held in Sydney, aim to help Australian food service businesses to achieve the best sustainability outcomes for their packaging.

APCO developed the guidelines in consultation with government, the food services industry, waste handlers, composters and recyclers, academics and community groups.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said food service businesses are facing unprecedented pressure and confusion, as they navigate not only the growing consumer backlash against problematic and single-use plastics, but also a rapidly changing marketplace that’s inundated with new materials and disruptive models.

“We are delighted to be launching this new resource which will support those businesses that are considering more sustainable packaging, but don’t know where to start.

“Sustainable packaging plays an important role in reducing food waste. We are pleased to be presenting a guide that will support a reduction in food waste going to landfill through more sustainable service ware choices,” Donnelly said.

Designed through the lens of the waste hierarchy and using a circular economic approach, the resource will provide organisations with a framework for reviewing and implementing more sustainable food service packaging options, incorporating considerations such as materials and recyclability, waste capture and handling and alternative delivery models.

The report also includes case studies from Qantas, GPT Group and Hobart City Council, providing implementation examples, evaluating barriers to implementation and offering practical guidance on overcoming challenges.

The Hobart City Council case study discusses steps the council is taking to achieve zero waste to landfill under its 2015-2030 Waste Management Strategy. The council is in the process of passing a local by-law banning single-use plastic takeaway packaging across the local government area. It discusses steps to understanding the changes required to move to a system free from single-use plastic. The council looked at waste streams that were being generated, when waste was created and where that waste was ending up.

The case studies provide in-depth information on various organisations that are aiming to reduce and improve their processes.