A new way forward for APCO members

A new way forward for APCO members

This year’s Australian Packaging Covenant Awards (APCO) demonstrated the conversation is shifting to taking a whole-of-life cycle focus for packaging, including onshore solutions, writes APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly. 

In August the APCO community came together again for our annual awards ceremony, a celebration of our members’ sustainable packaging achievements in the last 12 months. 

Located in the picturesque Dockside venue in Cockle Bay Sydney, we welcomed more than 150 industry colleagues and experts to celebrate the sustainability achievements of a diverse range of Australian organisations. 

We used the opportunity to host a series of workshops throughout the day. The first session with Helen Lewis from Helen Lewis Research and Lara Barclay from Adaptation Environmental Support included a review of APCO’s Sustainable Packaging Guidelines, and it was fantastic to hear feedback and insights from so many on the ground teams. 

The session also featured discussion from Stan Krpan, CEO of Sustainability Victoria and Tony Roberts from the Department of Environment and Science, providing a government perspective on the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines. 

Stan told the audience: “We collectively have to lift our ambition to meet the community’s growing expectations on waste and packaging. The Sustainable Packaging Guidelines review is very timely and can facilitate that. 

“There is some fantastic leadership being shown in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and retail, aligning strategies to the UNSDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) and innovation around sustainable production and consumption. We are looking forward to working with APCO on a strategy and the tools needed to deliver on the proposed 2025 targets.”

The second session of the day, a consumer education and behaviour change workshop, brought together Stefan Kaufman, Senior Research Fellow at Behaviour Works Australia and Paul Klymenko, CEO of Planet Ark, to explore how we can build a consistent and powerful national recycling message. It was fantastic to receive so much creative feedback from participants on how we can continue to build on the success of the Australasian Recycling Label in the region, which we are delighted to report is currently being used by more than 40 Australian businesses. The uptake of the PREP design tool also now exceeds 100 organisations.  

This year’s awards recognised achievements from a wide range of industries, with 13 sector categories, including manufacturing, retail, transport, technology, hospitality and pharmaceutical, and four excellence in packaging in awards.

I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to packaging manufacturer Detmold Packaging, which took out the coveted Sustainable Packaging Excellence Award, commended for its collaboration with customers and researchers to work towards sustainable packaging. A huge congratulations to Tom Lunn and his team, the Recycle Me project is a truly fantastic example of what can be achieved with a closed loop, collaborative approach to sustainable recycling solutions.

Other standout award recipients on the night included Campbell Arnott’s Australia (Outstanding Achievement in Packaging Design Award), who in 2017 implemented mandatory sustainability training for its internal packaging team and the Australian Postal Organisation (winner of the Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award), which now has a 100 per cent recyclable packaging range, following the introduction of a take-back scheme and the adoption of the Australasian Recycling Label. Finally, congratulations to CHEP Australia (Outstanding Achievement in Sustainable Packaging Operations Award) whose share and reuse model maximises the use of pallets, crates and containers and enabling its customers unique access to a circular economy. 

A huge congratulations also to our sector award winners. This year’s finalists all implemented an incredible range of sustainability projects, ranging from staff training, take-back and repair schemes, voluntary single-use plastic replacements, and some very admirable internal recycling and waste reduction company targets. What they all had in common was a demonstration of the incredible
power of collaboration, partnership and leadership. 

As organisations they are all making real strides in helping Australia to reach the national target of 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. 

A big thank you to our special guest Kim Farrant, Assistant Secretary, Assessments and Waste Branch, Department of Environment and Energy for delivering the evening’s keynote address.  

Collaboration between industry and government is the only way we can create a new conversation around waste and recycling in Australia. This is a conversation that takes a whole-of-lifecycle focus for packaging, includes in-country solutions that support our local industry and takes accountability for managing our resources right through to end of life. 

Congratulations again to all of our finalists and winners. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2019.

The winners of 2018:

SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING EXCELLENCE – Detmold Packaging
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP – Australian Postal Organisation
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING OPERATIONS – CHEP Australia
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PACKAGING DESIGN – Campbell Arnott’s Australia
CLOTHING, FOOTWEAR AND FASHION – Redback Boot Company
ELECTRONICS – Kyocera Document Solutions Australia
FOOD AND BEVERAGE – Campbell Arnott’s Australia
PACKAGING MANUFACTURER – Detmold Packaging
PHARMACEUTICAL – Amgen Australia
HOMEWARES – ACCO Brands Australia
TRANSPORT & AIRLINE – Qantas Airways
CHEMICALS AND AGRICULTURE – LyondellBasell Australia
TELECOMMUNICATIONS (Joint) – Telstra Corporation & SingTel Optus
LARGE RETAILER – Super Retail Group
MACHINERY AND HARDWARE – Tasman Sinkware
PERSONAL CARE – Integria Healthcare (Australia)
LOGISTICS – CHEP Australia

This article was published in the October issue of Waste Management Review.