Page 15 - Food & Drink March 2020
P. 15

time is needed to develop solutions to these barriers.
Current barriers include:
• the lack of clean glass from kerbside collections, which
limits the recycled content in
local bottles;
• a need to review quality
standards of recycled content;
• lack of measures to ensure
traceability along the supply
chain; and
• insufficient local processing
Another key barrier to increasing the recycled content of packaging is the lack fit-for- purpose food-grade recycled packaging material.
recycled content in packaging and drive a circular economy. Rectifying these issues requires collaboration of all
stakeholders, not just one part of the supply chain.
That is why the AFGC is working with government, the packaging industry, retailers, the waste sector and APCO
to drive the actions required to address these barriers, facilitate the achievement
of the National Packaging Targets and ultimately develop a circular economy.
On a positive note, the current recycled content rate has been confirmed at 35 per cent higher
“ Currently, 95 per cent of food waste from the food manufacturing sector is diverted from landfill to higher order uses such as food rescue, animal feed, application to land and composting. This is driving significant circular economy outcomes.”
APCO is leading the ARL initiative to reduce consumer confusion about how to correctly recycling different packaging material.
Currently, more than 270 organisations are using the label on their packaging.
APCO is also developing
a priority list and approach for problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging, anticipated to be published in 2020.
To this end, it is imperative substitutes for unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic items provide an overall environmental benefit and the AFGC has recommended a lifecycle
assessment is undertaken on product substitutes to ensure they are actually environmentally beneficial.
As highlighted in APCO’s 2019 report Australian Packaging Consumption and Resource Recovery Data, 86 per cent of packaging is currently recyclable, yet only 49 per cent is actually recycled.
While the sector is committed to achieving the National Packaging Targets, there are barriers to its successful implementation.
A whole-of-packaging-supply- chain approach and sufficient
In short, demand for fit-for-purpose recycled packaging material currently exceeds supply and investment in local secondary recycling processing should be prioritised over energy-from-waste infrastructure. This would stop recyclable material being used as fuel versus supplying a circular economy.
Australian glass processors can potentially double their recycled content if kerbside contamination is reduced.
This is achievable through clean glass sourced from container deposit schemes and through separating glass and paper in kerbside collections.
As glass fragments embed in paper and cardboard and Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) glass contains paper fragments, the quality of both commodities is downgraded and devalued.
As glass and paper account for 70-75 per cent of co-mingled collection material, separating glass and paper would dramatically increase the quality and value of the material, while reducing pressure to stockpile low-grade materials.
In turn, this would increase recycling rates, enable increased
than the recommended 30 per cent target.
This result is largely due to collaboration between brand owners, retailers and the waste and packaging sectors. Source separating secondary cardboard cartons at retail has enabled clean material to be collected and returned to paper mills for recycling, resulting in 63 per cent of paper and cardboard being recycled with 49 per cent recycled content.
APCO is currently consulting with industry to set a higher voluntary target based on evidence of the current situation, local infrastructure capacity, the supply chain barriers that need to be overcome, and the commitments of brand owners to achieve recycled content as high as 100 per cent.
Establishing a circular economy means much more than recycling, which is only part of the equation.
Rather, a circular economy is restorative by design, focused on extracting maximum value from resources through continued re-use using as few resources as possible. For that to be achieved a collaborative, whole-of-supply-chain approach must be embraced. ✷ | March 2020 | Food&Drink business | 15

   13   14   15   16   17