AFGC backs the National Plastic Plan

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) congratulates the Australian Government on the delivery of a National Plastics Plan that will drive improved environmental outcomes and support greater recovery and recycling of plastics.

Released today, the National Plastics Plan importantly recognises the role that all parties need to play in eliminating plastics from the environment and increasing their circularity in the economy.

The AFGC is 100 per cent behind this announcement and congratulates the government on making it a whole of supply chain problem to solve – no one part of the chain is responsible or can solve it alone, said CEO, Tanya Barden.

“Increasing recycling rates requires actions from all sectors of the supply chain, from the way plastic is manufactured, how products are designed and labelled, to community choosing to recycle and government and industry co-investing in recycling and manufacturing plant and equipment. National plans are required to develop a circular economy moving from a linear economy to a re-manufacturing model where recycled material meets the quality specifications of end markets.

“Food and grocery manufacturers are playing their part in a number of ways. They are currently reviewing their packaging and making changes to ensure it is 100 per cent re-usable, recyclable or compostable, contains more recycled content, and importantly remains safe for consumers. As these packaging changes occur, consumers will also see a greater roll out of the Australasian Recyclability Label to help inform them of which bin to put their packaging in,” said Ms Barden.

Supported by the Government’s Product Stewardship Investment Fund, the AFGC, and food and grocery manufacturers, are leading the development of the National Plastics Recycling Scheme to increase recycling rates for soft plastics such as bread bags, frozen vegetable bags, confectionery wrappers, and to close the loop on this material by developing end markets, including making its way back into packaging.

“We’re very pleased to see that the Government understands that greater recycled content in packaging requires nationally consistent performance standards for material recovery facilities to deliver clean feedstock for re-manufacturing. It is essential that recycled plastics are safe for manufacturers to use with food, beverages and cosmetics, and we look forward to working with other stakeholders to achieve that outcome.

“As outlined in the AFGC’s 2020-2021 Pre-Budget submission, the AFGC calls for the Federal Government to implement a co-investment grants program to support food, beverage and grocery manufacturers as they innovate their packaging to deliver the Government’s sustainable packaging targets. Meeting these targets requires significant research and development and considerable capital investment to upgrade manufacturing plant and equipment,” Ms Barden said.