24-25 Jul 2024

APCO receive Federal Government backing for new sustainable plastic packaging projects

Nov 18, 2020 Packaging

Two new Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) projects have been funded and given the green light by the Australian Federal Government under their Product Stewardship Investment Fund.

APCO have introduced two new packaging projects aimed at tackling plastic waste (oil containers and plastic plant packaging) in an effort to increase recovery rates, reduce plastic entering landfill and better manage the product life-cycle, according to the APCO statement.

The fund was introduced to promote shared responsibility of the products used every day. The Government scheme aims to reduce waste, prevent harmful materials entering landfill and increase recycling efforts by offering grants ($300,000 – $1M) to organisations in Australia, assisting their product stewardship and recycling efforts to meet future government sustainability targets.

The new projects by APCO include a PoPPr Program aimed at the recovery of Polypropylene Plant Packaging (i.e. plant pots, trays, tags, stakes etc.).

APCO have numerous partners and supporters in the horticultural sector they will be working closely with to design and implement an industry-backed plant packaging collection scheme involving a wide network of collection points. These supporting partners include organisations such as Greenlife Industry Australia, Horticulture Innovation and the Landscape Association.

This project will allow Australians to return their used plant packaging to drop-off points where it can be safely recycled into new plant products, closing the damaging loop involved with the Polypropylene practice.

The second project targets the collection and recycling of plastic oil containers in a new nation-wide scheme. Due to the residual oil found in these plastic containers, they cannot currently be recycled at standard kerbside collection, making them an environmental concern. APCO will again work with industry partners and supporters in the design of a new system aimed at tackling this issue through a whole-of-supply chain product stewardship system addressing funding, free-rider protection and nation-wide coverage.

Trevor Evans (Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister) holds a positive outlook on the future of these projects and their place in Australia.

“These new product stewardship schemes for used plastic oil containers and plastic plant packaging will reduce harmful waste going to landfill, lift recycling rates and help consumers make a practical, positive difference for the environment, ” he said.

Brooke Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer at APCO, commented, “A big thank you to Minister Ley and Minister Evans for their continued support of APCO and our work to build a circular economy for plastic packaging. These projects are one part of an incredibly rich and exciting program of work in the pipeline to tackle plastic, forming part of the pioneer initiatives that will roll out when the ANZPAC Plastics Pact program hits the ground running on Jan 1, 2021.

Donnelly also congratulated their colleagues at the Australian Food and Grocery Council on their new plastic packaging project.

“It is a stellar example of the mutually reinforcing activities needed to build a circular economy for packaging in Australia. We look forward to our continued close working relationship, as together we work with other key stakeholders and industry to accelerate the solutions for managing plastic packaging throughout its lifecycle”.

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