The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) welcomes the NSW Plastic Action Plan, and Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy released today.

The AFGC, representing Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing industry, supports the NSW Government’s integrated approach to managing plastic and developing a long-term waste, litter and recycling plan.

Plastic packaging has a role in maintaining food and grocery product quality and safety, extending product life and reducing food waste, however this needs to be balanced with the detriment that plastic can cause to the environment. Recognising this, food and grocery manufacturers are working to reduce their reliance on virgin plastics and other packaging materials, and to increase recycling and re-use rates.

Tanya Barden, AFGC CEO said: “Balancing the needs to preserve food, reduce food waste and ensure community health and safety by producing high quality food and grocery products while increasing recycled content and improving the end-of-life management of packaging is a complex task.

“There is much to be done in the evolving space of developing food grade recycled content so the government’s focus on R&D funding to support increasing the amount of recycled plastic in products is a welcome start”, said Ms Barden.

Ms Barden congratulated the NSW Government on the new action plan.

“The food and grocery sector supports the Plastic Action Plan, which strikes a balance for all sectors to collaborate and develop a much-needed plastics circular economy”.

“The AFGC is leading the development of the National Plastic Recycling Scheme (NPRS) with the aim of dramatically increasing the collection and recycling of soft plastic packaging such as bread bags, toilet paper wrap and confectionery wrappers. The NSW Plastic Action Plan’s support for R&D and trials to find innovative recycling solutions and increase the recycled content in food and medicinal safe packaging is much needed and welcomed by industry”.

“Providing a clear policy framework supported by innovation funding support will drive industry confidence and actions towards creating a circular economy where packaging materials are not only collected locally but recycled locally to produce high quality material able to be remanufactured into food grade packaging.”

The AFGC also supports the NSW Government in reducing carbon emissions through requiring food and organics collections by 2030, and supporting the recovery of biogas from waste materials.