Plastics Summit opportunity for collaboration, action: AFGC

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is proud to be taking part in today’s National Plastics Summit, which is a unique and valuable opportunity for government, industry and the community to come together and collaborate on waste and recycling issues.

The summit is a Federal Government initiative to help showcase and identify new solutions to dealing with plastic waste – a challenge that is being tackled head-on by Australia’s $122.1 billion food, beverage and grocery manufacturing sector.

“The AFGC congratulates the Government on its initiative to host the Summit and their leadership on this important matter.  A collaborative, whole-of-community approach is needed to deal with the issue of plastic waste and the AFGC is looking forward to playing an active role in the summit,” said AFGC Acting CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison.

“Our sector is working hard to address issues of waste and recycling, with many AFGC members making significant investments to align with the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

“Timeframes which are achievable, and yet demonstrate the imperative of addressing this issue with urgency, are critical. For companies to make the transition to packaging with higher levels of recycled content, which is both expensive and scarce, numerous challenges including the variation in collection and recycling systems and the lack of local recycling infrastructure must be prioritised.

“This requires agreement and coordination of effort across all stakeholders in the system, and the AFGC will continue collaborating with all stakeholders to expedite these outcomes.

“Food, beverage and grocery manufacturing provides jobs for 273,000 Australians and is the lifeblood of many regional and rural communities. The value of these jobs must be a key policy consideration.

“That is why the AFGC is calling on the Federal Government to implement a grants program to support food, beverage and grocery manufacturers to innovate their packaging, which requires considerable capital investment, especially for the smaller to medium enterprise.”

What industry is doing:

As members of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), AFGC companies are collaborating to reduce the harmful impact of packaging through the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

These include:

  • Make all packaging 100 per cent recyclable, re-usable or compostable;
  • 70 per cent of plastic packaging is recycled or compostable;
  • 30 per cent average recycled content in packaging;
  • Problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics packaging phased out.

AFGC member action:

  • PepsiCo has pledged $650,000 to Greening the Green an initiative with Clean Up Australia, REDcycle and Replas to educate consumers on soft plastic recovery and increase soft plastic recycling across Australia;
  • Unilever has committed to halving its use of virgin plastics globally and has recently commenced making plastic packaging containing Australian recycled content across locally made brands such as Dove, TRESemme, OMO, Surf and Toni & Guy;
  • Nestlé will work with Australian recycler iQ Renew in a new trial, which aims to see soft plastics collected from over 100,000 homes through kerbside recycling and diverted from landfill. This builds on its global commitment to spend AUD$2.3bn on food grade recycled plastic packaging and reduce use of virgin plastic by one-third by 2025;
  • Coca Cola Amatil is using 100 per cent recycled plastic content in 70 per cent of its bottles;
  • Mondelez has committed to making 100 per cent of Cadbury packaging recyclable by 2025 and is currently trialling paper packaging;
  • Lion Dairy & Drinks’ is using 25 per cent recycled content in its 300ml PET bottles and all The Juice Brothers 1.5L bottles are made using 50 per cent recycled content.