The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has praised new rules announced by the nation’s environment ministers aimed at cutting packaging waste and boosting recycling.
The historic agreement will help make sure packaging waste is minimised in the first place, and where packaging is used, it is designed to be recovered, reused, recycled, or reprocessed.
Tanya Barden, CEO, AFGC, said the new rules will support the food and grocery sector’s efforts to reduce plastic packaging waste, including the development of the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS).
“Food and beverage manufacturers have long supported reducing the environmental footprint of packaging without compromising the health and safety of consumers or contributing to food waste.”
The new agreement includes the mandatory packaging design standards and targets, including for recycled content and to address the use of harmful chemicals in food packaging.
Barden said the announcement is a strong signal that the government supports the industry’s goals and that she looks forward to collaborating with governments and supply chain partners to deliver meaningful outcomes.
“It is encouraging that the announcement includes plans around the introduction of harmonised kerbside collection standards – a measure that is essential in providing certainty to manufacturers when developing new packaging.
“And because an essential part of any circular economy is traceability, the ministers’ plans to develop a national framework for recycled content traceability is welcome news to our members as the source quality recycled materials.”
The AFGC has been working with stakeholders across the supply chain to develop the NPRS, to close the loop on soft plastics. And Barden said that the Environment Ministers’ agreement to pursue measures such as harmonisation of kerbside standards is welcome as it aligns with the essential elements of this scheme.
“Our pioneering soft plastic recycling scheme is not possible without traceability and harmonised kerbside recycling standards, and so we congratulate the Ministers for their attention to these important aspects,” she said.