The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) will lead the development of the ANZPAC Plastic Pact, the latest to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global plastics pact network.
The Pact will launch to the public in late 2020 and will work with businesses, governments and NGOs from across the plastics value chain in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island nations. It’s aim is to develop a common vision of the circular economy for plastics.
ANZPAC will provide the significant intervention required to meet Australia’s national plastic packaging target that 70% of all plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025.
Aligned with the other initiatives of the Plastics Pact network, the ANZPAC Plastics Pact will work towards a set of ambitious, time-bound targets in these areas:
- elimination of unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging through redesign and innovation
- ensuring all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable
- increasing the reuse, collection, and recycling of plastic packaging
- increasing recycled content in plastic packaging
The exact targets will be released towards the end of 2020, and progress will be reported annually.
The initiative was announced at the National Plastics Summit, where APCO was joined by representatives from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and the Australian Food and Grocery Council and industry and government was officially invited to participate in the program.
Assistant Minister for waste reduction and environmental management, Trevor Evans, said that the government welcomed industry led approaches which were fundamental to bringing about better recycling outcomes.
“We look forward to actions that will significantly increase recycled plastic content beyond current levels.”
According to APCO CEO, Brooke Donnelly, plastic is a global supply chain problem and in order to manage it effectively, Australia needs an international approach.
“The Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Plastic Pact network is a proven, effective model being rolled out across the world, and I’m very pleased that APCO Members and key stakeholders will be leading the delivery of this program for our region,” she said
Circular Plastics Research Initiative
In 2020, APCO will be developing the program in close consultation with local industry representatives in all regions. Initiatives will include a series of plastics-focused projects, and the creation of the Circular Plastics Research Initiative, a new innovation hub that will bring together researchers, investors and industry to share knowledge and align efforts.
Companies which have already shown strong engagement with the program include Woolworths, Australia Post, Unilever, Mars, Nestlé Oceania, Pact, CHEP, Amcor, Kmart Australia, Officeworks, Detmold Group, Veolia, SUEZ, Fonterra and Mondelēz International. The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and Planet Ark Environmental Foundation are also strongly supporting the program’s development.
According to AFGC Acting CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison, “The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is collaborating to develop whole-of supply chain solutions so our sector can meet the National Packaging Targets to benefit the community and the environment.
“We are proud to be supporting the development of the new ANZPAC program, alongside the ongoing work of APCO and the vital role the organisation is playing in developing a circular economy for packaging and increasing recycling rates across our region.”
Officeworks, head of sustainable development, Ryan Swenson added, “Addressing the challenges relating to plastic packaging requires collaboration across all sectors, and the approach outlined by APCO provides the mechanism to facilitate the systems level change that is needed.”
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, new plastics economy lead, Sander Defruyt said, “We look forward to working together with the governments and industry of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to drive real change towards a circular economy for plastic. By eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovating to ensure that the plastics they do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating the plastic items they use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment, we can create a world without plastic waste or pollution.”
WRAP head of international resource management UK, David Rogers said, “WRAP is delighted to see APCO announce plans for an ANZPAC. The UK Plastics Pact has been very successful in transforming the plastics landscape in the UK. WRAP, who developed the UK Plastics Pact in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, have been involved in supporting a number of Plastics Pacts around the world as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network. This has the power to completely transform how we produce, use and dispose of plastics.”