Australia, Industry News, News

Packaging report details collaborative vision

Our Packaging Future, the new strategic framework outlining how Australia will deliver the 2025 National Packaging Targets was unveiled yesterday during an industry webinar.

The report was launched by assistant minister for Waste Reduction and Environment Management, Trevor Evans, and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and featured discussion from Evans, Dr Helen Lewis and APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly.

Our Packaging Future combines data and insights from more than 200 authors and contributors, to identify the current critical challenges contributing to this gap. It then maps the strategies required to move away from our current take, make and waste approach to managing packaging.

The strategies address issues of packaging design, improved collection and recycling systems and expanded markets for used packaging, and provides a systemic, whole of environment approach to building Australia’s sustainable packaging future.

Key recommendations and approaches addressed in the plan include:

  • A change to the 2025 National Packaging Target for recycled content levels in packaging. The Target for the average recycled content in all packaging will increase from 30 percent to 50 percent
  • The launch of a National Consumer Education Campaign for sustainable packaging in 2020
  • APCO to convene a CDS National Working Group as a collaborative forum aiming to facilitate consistency and alignment of future closed-loop schemes
  • APCO to explore and facilitate waste collection partnerships in regional and remote areas including potential collaboration with other product stewardship schemes where kerbside collection is not feasible
  • Voluntary code of practice for shopping bags with key stakeholders
  • New reuse models for both consumer and B2B packaging
  • For compostable packaging, develop a national strategy with industry and government partners.
  • Explore extending the Australasian Recycling Label to include B2B packaging and recycled content.
  • Develop a traceability and verification program for recycled content in packaging and products

According to Evans, “Governments around Australia are relying on APCO and its members to bring about a more sustainable approach to packaging. This report shows that about half of all packaging in Australia is not currently being recovered, and that is the gap we need to bridge to achieve the National Packaging Targets by 2025”.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO, APCO added, “Our planet has finite resources to meet our ever-increasing consumption. Business as usual is simply not going to sustain our communities into the future. We will not accept a future defined by waste stockpiles, inefficient waste recovery economies, self-interest and fragmented regulation and policy approaches.

Clear vision

She said that the vision for this report is clear. It will build a packaging value chain that collaborates to keep packaging materials out of landfill and maximise the circular value of the materials, energy and labour within the local economy.

“Thank you to everyone who took part in the process, it has taken over two years, however we now have a clear vision for a whole of system approach to delivering the 2025 Targets,” she said.

Leaders from across the packaging value chain, including major brands, retailers and business associations, the waste and recycling industry, and the environmental community have responded positively to the report.

“By mapping the challenges faced by all impacted waste streams, the collective impact framework of the report focuses industry and government on the strategies that will drive the critical growth and sustainable end markets that are necessary to drive the system forward and achieve the waste reduction and recycling outcomes the Australian public expects,” SUEZ Australia & New Zealand chief customer officer, Justin Frank said.

Significant milestone

“As the first integrated and holistic perspective of Australia’s packaging ecosystem, ‘Our Packaging Future’ is a significant milestone for packaging sustainability here in Australia. At Kmart Group, we are committed to reducing the environmental impacts of Kmart, Target and Catch’s own brand products and packaging, delivered through our Better Together sustainable development program,” Kmart Group head of Energy and Environment Chris Foley added.

“The Our Packaging Future project is firmly part of diverse network of global organisations, this network, providing an evidence-based foundation for businesses to map, measure and forecast the reduction and, ultimately the elimination, of packaging leakage across their value chains.

The recommendations and strategies outlined in the report will provide Australian businesses with a strong foundation to deliver effective action on eliminating pollution and building a circular approach across our economy,” Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, CEO Andrew Petersen said.

“The report highlights the very real need for national consumer education particularly the use of standardised on-pack recycling information via the Australasian Recycling Label, itself a highly productive collaboration between APCO, Planet Ark and PREP Design,” Planet Ark Environmental Foundation CEO, Paul Klymenko concluded.