Product Stewardship Fund backs two new APCO projects

APCO has received the go-ahead for two new plastic packaging projects under the Federal Government’s Product Stewardship Investment Fund.

With a focus on oil containers and plastic plant packaging, the two projects were designed to shift away from an organisational product stewardship perspective towards a broader sectoral view.

According to an APCO statement, this approach will enable each industry to better manage their products throughout the lifecycle, reduce packaging entering landfill and increase recovery rates.

The new initiatives include a PoPPr Program to establish a national recovery program for Polypropylene Plant Packaging, including plant pots, trays, tags and stakes.

Through a partnership with Greenlife Industry Australia, and support from allied organisations including Horticulture Innovation and the Landscape Association, APCO will work closely with the horticultural sector across Australia on the design and implementation of an industry-endorsed network of collection points for plant packaging.

This will enable Australians to return their plant packaging for recycling into new plant packaging and close the loop on horticultural Polypropylene.

The second project is a new national collection and recycling scheme for plastic oil containers.

Plastic oil containers cannot be recycled at kerbside due to residual oil and are an environmental and safety hazard.

APCO will engage with industry and government partners to design and implement an effective, whole-of-supply chain product stewardship model that will address industry funding, free-rider protection and national coverage.

Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister Trevor Evans said Australians are increasingly looking to responsibly recycle or give new life to their unwanted products.

“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.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly thanked Evans and Environment Minister Sussan Ley for their continued support of APCO, and its 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,” she said.

Donnelly also congratulated the Australian Food and Grocery Council, which received a grant to develop a National Plastics Recycling Scheme to enhance the collection and processing of plastic packaging and increase the use of recycled content.

“It is a stellar example of the mutually reinforcing activities needed to build a circular economy for packaging in Australia,” she said.

“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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