Packaging industry tackles waste head on

Packaging Forum’s Rigid Plastic Stewardship Project to form advisory group at upcoming meeting.

The Packaging Forum’s Rigid Plastic Stewardship Project is holding its first working meeting on 23 July in Auckland, where an advisory group will be formed, and the work plan discussed, says project manager Dominic Salmon.

“This meeting is an important opportunity for those making and selling rigid plastic food and beverage containers to be key influencers in finding industry-led solutions,” Salmon said.

The project will accelerate the development of solutions to meet rapid demand from the industry, consumers and government, particularly for problematic plastics 3-7 as well as beverage containers.

On 1 July the Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones, and Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced a $40 million allocation from the Provincial Growth Fund for projects that convert waste, including plastic waste, into materials and products useful to businesses and consumers.

The investment has been welcomed by the forum, with Salmon adding its projects will help guide in this area by looking at both recovery systems and the recycling and end use of the materials.

Salmon said the intention of the Rigid Plastic Stewardship Project is to develop a whole-of-industry, product stewardship approach for rigid plastic containers.

Product stewardship sees manufacturers and retailers take responsibility for the products they make and sell at the end of their useful life, so that these products are recycled, reused or repurposed.

Salmon said the project will also help members achieve ‘Pledge 2025’, a pledge which last year committed The Packaging Forum members, including manufacturers, brand owners and retailers, to make all their packaging recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The project will pull together research-based projects, consider the issues of food safety and food waste, and look at effective recovery and recycling systems in order to develop a product stewardship approach, Dominic says.

“It’s important to remember plastic does actually prevent waste when used correctly, so this work will also include balanced education on the use of plastics.”

The project is sponsored by beverage manufacturers Coca Cola Amatil and Frucor Suntory and paper, packaging and recycling company Visy Industries. It also has the backing of New Zealand Beverage Council.

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