National Recycling Week the right time to think about an exciting future for soft plastics recycling

This National Recycling Week Australia celebrates 25 years of progress in making recycling bigger and better. Everyone has their part to play in increasing recycling rates and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), which represents the nation’s food and grocery manufacturers, is proud to be leading a big change in how soft plastics will be recycled – the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS). 

The AFGC is now one year into the development of the NPRS, which will be Australia’s largest industry-led plastics recycling scheme. Supported by funding from the federal government’s Product Stewardship Investment Fund, the NPRS will drive a dramatic expansion of soft plastics recycling and increase the availability of post-consumer, food-grade recycled plastic for use in new products. 

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said the council is currently working with industry stakeholders to develop the NPRS, including examining ways to optimise collection opportunities.  

“The NPRS will increase the scale of soft plastics recycling in Australia and help create a true circular economy for plastic packaging,” Ms Barden said. 

“As an industry-led and funded scheme, the NPRS will coordinate the efforts of food and grocery companies and help to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets.” 

The National Packaging Targets include a goal of recycling or composting 70 per cent of plastic packaging and incorporating an average of 50 per cent recycled content across all packaging by 2025. 

Plastic packaging has an important role in the daily lives of consumers – it keeps food fresh, reduces food waste and helps keep products intact. Much of that plastic is also a valuable resource that can be recycled and food and grocery manufacturers are taking the lead on recycling, adopting the Australasian Recycling Label, which makes it easy for consumers to recycle packaging the right way, and increasing the amount of recycled material used in packaging. AFGC member companies, including many of Australia’s best-known brands, are also proud partners of soft plastics recycling program REDcycle.