A national plan to tackle plastic waste
Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers, represented by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), are stepping up with national plan to tackle plastic waste, developing Australia’s largest industry-led plastic recycling scheme. The National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), supported by funding from the Australian Government, aims to collect and recycle nearly 19,0000 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum by 2025.
The scheme will initially focus on increasing the diversion of soft plastics such as bread, cereal and frozen vegetable bags, confectionery wrappers and toilet paper wrap from landfill, and it will move on to support the increased recycling of other plastics that are currently difficult to collect and/or recycle. As an industry-led and funded scheme, the NPRS will coordinate and focus the efforts of well-known food and grocery brands to significantly increase the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging.
This will build on existing soft plastics recycling initiatives, including the industry funded REDcycle program and the soft plastic kerbside collection trial run by Nestlé, as well as projects and research by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.
“Over many years, brand owners have invested in packaging innovations that reduce food waste and have moved to using lighter-weight plastics that have a lower carbon footprint,” says AFGC CEO Tanya Barden. “Continuing the focus on packaging sustainability, the NPRS will increase the recycling rates of identified plastics and reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging, helping to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets.”
The National Packaging Targets include a goal of recycling or composting 70 percent of plastic packaging, incorporating an average of 50 percent recycled content across all packaging and phasing out unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025.