The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) has called on large Australian brands to commit to using recycled content in their packaging as Coles and Woolworths phase out single-use plastic bags.
ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said the move to stop supplying plastic bags in supermarkets is a good step, but a bigger move for the environment and economy is ensuring recycled content material is used for packaging.
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“Giving consumers a chance to buy recycled content products has more benefits than bag bans, and survey work shows more than 80 per cent of Aussies support such a move. Ministers can do more to encourage recycled content in packaging at their next discussion about the China crisis,” Mr Shmigel said.
“Putting recycled content into Australian packaging creates domestic demand for collected material and that drives investment and jobs in remanufacturing into new products, and lower risk for Councils’ kerbside recycling collections.”
“At present, Coles appears to have a voluntary target of 5 per cent of products sold having recycled content. It’s unclear what Woolworths’ target is.”
Mr Shmigel said it would be great if both companies announced what their targets are for recycled content going into the future.
“Without recycled content and other measures to make recycling sustainable, we are ‘pushing’ material out and not ‘pulling’ it through. It just shifts more costs to local governments for recycling services. If we can’t get progress through voluntary measures, the community is right to expect regulation to get it done, as is the case in Europe,” Mr Shmigel said.
“Coca-Cola is showing what can be done. Mount Franklin water bottles are all made with recycled content plastic, and they are looking at switching 50% of all their bottles to recycled content,” he said.