24-25 Jul 2024

Combating Compost Confusion

May 21, 2020 Organics

Peak industry bodies recently collaborated on cutting the confusion over compostable plastic packaging, easing consumer pressure on brands.

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) announced new guidance to help businesses make informed choices when considering the use of compostable packaging.

Developed in partnership with the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) – the guidelines have been designed to cut the confusion on compostable packaging.

Aimed mainly at industry professionals such as, brand owners, packaging technologists, designers and food service providers, the guidelines provide detail on when and where to use certified compostable plastic packaging and associated items like cutlery.

Based on the systems and infrastructure that is currently available, APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said the guidelines outline potential applications and opportunities for certified compostable plastic packaging, with a strong emphasis on packaging that can also facilitate food waste collection.

“Compostable plastics currently account for around 0.1 per cent of plastic packaging on market in Australia. Yet we know that it is a market that is growing and one that causes real confusion – for both the industry and end consumers”, Ms Donnelly said.

Recommendations are also provided in the guidelines on how to correctly communicate with end consumers, including accurate certification and correct language for labelling and marketing.

“With brands facing intense consumer pressure to move away from plastics, coupled with thousands of Australian food outlets turning to takeaway packaging formats for the first time, there’s never been a more important time for businesses to receive accurate and consistent information about compostable packaging,” Ms Donnelly said.

APCO launched the 2025 National Packaging Targets at the Australasian Waste and Recycling Exhibition last October alongside Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environment Management, later followed by a launch earlier this year of a strategic framework to deliver these targets.

The new strategic framework, Our Packaging Future, outlines the strategies to improve package design, collection and recycling systems, as well as expanded markets for used packaging to help meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets. It also provides a systemic, whole of environment approach to building Australia’s sustainable packaging future.

Key recommendations include launching a National Consumer Education Campaign, developing new reuse models for consumers and B2B packaging, as well as exploring and facilitating waste collection partnerships in regional and remote areas.

“Governments around Australia are relying on APCO and its members to bring about a more sustainable approach to packaging. This report shows that about half of all packaging in Australia is not currently being recovered, and that is the gap we need to bridge to achieve the National Packaging Targets by 2025”, said Assistant Minister, Trevor Evans at the launch of the framework.

The new framework has been welcomed by representatives from across the entire packaging value chain as a strategic step to help deliver the national 2025 targets.

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