The Australian Food and Grocery Council welcomes federal government funding to increase Australia’s recycling capabilities as significant progress in developing a circular economy for packaging materials.
AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said AUD 60 million in funding for hard-to-recycle plastics, including soft plastics, and consultation on a national framework for recycled content traceability, announced on Tuesday by Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, will boost the ability of food and grocery companies to use recycled materials in packaging.
“Food and grocery manufacturers want to use more recycled packaging content, including food-grade recycled plastics, to increase sustainability while maintaining the quality and safety consumers expect,” Barden said.
“The AFGC is developing the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS) to keep soft plastic packaging out of landfill and to recycle that packaging into new, food-grade material.”
Barden continued that this funding would support the development of a new re-manufacturing industry for packaging through investment in advanced recycling technologies, including those that turn plastic back into oil for reuse in food-grade packaging.
Such technology is currently the missing part of the supply chain. It is central to the NPRS as a sustainable solution for soft plastic packaging developed by the AFGC with major brands.
Traceability standards are also essential to reduce the use of virgin materials. The AFGC has called for a nationally consistent framework for recycled packaging content, which helps all parts of the supply chain have confidence.
Australia’s food and grocery industry is undertaking significant work to improve rates of recyclability and recycling on all packaging. Momentum is building, and the AFGC welcomes the vital support these government initiatives show.