APCO releases June webinar schedule

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has released the June schedule for its Weekly Community Webinar series.

Launched in March, the webinars are designed to bring together professionals across the business, government and environmental communities and help the sustainable packaging community stay connected during lockdown.

To date, the sessions have been attended by more than 1800 professionals discussing topics ranging from sustainable packaging design and green communications, through to compostable packaging best practice and the importance of a packaging sustainability strategy and action plan.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said despite lockdown presenting a number of serious challenges, progress is still occurring. She added that the willingness of thousands of industry professionals to come together every week to collaborate and learn “is a powerful demonstration of that.”

“It has been so rewarding to be joined by hundreds of professionals every week who are equally as engaged and passionate about this space. We look forward to seeing even more of you in June and July,” Donnelly said.

Webinar schedules will be released monthly. June’s schedule, including links to register, is available below:

3 June: World Environment Day special: Building a career in sustainability

This week is World Environment Day (5 June), the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment.

To celebrate, APCO is discussing what it takes to build a career in sustainability and how to deliver impactful sustainability initiatives and actions.

Speakers: Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia’s Andrew Peterson, APCO’s 2019 Sustainability Champion Award winner and Endeavour Drinks Group Sustainability Manager Diarmaid O’Mordha and Fiona Baxter, Packaging Development manager from Simplot.

To register click here.

10 June: Topic Deep Dive: Soft plastics

This week will discuss one of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – for the recycling system: getting Australia’s approach to soft plastics right.

Topics for discussion include practical actions brands can take around soft plastics, challenges and opportunities for meeting the 2025 National Packaging Targets, the critical role of closing the loop by buying back the end product and the vision for soft plastics recycling in Australia.

To register click here.

17 June: Science Based Targets

As companies worldwide strive to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with commitments made under the 2015 Paris agreement, Science Based Targets (SBTs) are emerging as an effective benchmark by which to plan and review progress towards a low-carbon business model.

A growing number of APCO members have made public commitments to SBTs, establishing a whole-of-business agenda for delivering emissions reductions.

Topics for discussion include challenges and opportunities for packaging to reduce the carbon footprint of a business, and how businesses can use SBTs in partnership with other APCO tools and resources.

Speakers will include leading practitioners of SBTs, including Jonas Bengtsson, CEO of Edge Environment.

To register click here.

24 June: Launching APCO’s FY21 Priority Projects

This week, APCO will unveil its new Priority Projects schedule. In 2021, APCO will facilitate 23 new projects developed to drive targeted and tangible progress on Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The program was developed in consultation with, and will be overseen by, APCO’s 2020 Working Groups – a community of more than 160 participants, representing the entire packaging supply chain.

Topics for discussion include an overview of this year’s priority projects, and how each project connects to Our Packaging Future – the strategic framework for how Australia will deliver the 2025 Targets. The session will also cover insights for how organisations can contribute to and participate in this work.

To register click here.

Related stories: 

ARL ranked ‘world-leading’ in new UN report

The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) has been rated as world-leading among consumer labelling programs in a new report from the UN Environment Programme, Consumers International and the One Planet network – 10YFP.

The ARL aims to clearly outline what product packaging is made from so consumers can make responsible purchasing decisions and correctly recycle material post-use.

Furthermore, businesses that pledge their commitment to the ARL gain access to a unique analysis tool that allows them to better understand the materials they use in their packaging and associated environmental impacts.

Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) CEO Brooke Donnelly said APCO was “incredibly excited” to see the ARL program recognised as a world-leading consumer education initiative at the highest levels.

“The program was commended for its clarity, reliability and accessibility, and singled out as one of the few programs delivering considered, informative and useful information that could effectively increase responsible consumer behaviour,” she said.

“Congratulations to all of our 380 Members who are already part of the program and actively working to bring this first class program to life.”

The report, A Global Mapping and Assessment of Standards, Labels and Claims on Plastic Packaging, found only 19 per cent of assessed labels gave consumers quality information to make informed recycling and purchasing decisions.

“Globally, only about 9 per cent of plastic waste has been recycled and about 12 per cent has been incinerated. The vast majority ends up in landfill or leaks into the environment,” a Consumers International statement reads.

“Rising public awareness and concern about plastics has encouraged businesses to increasingly communicate this information about their packaging. However, the information is often unclear.”

Report lead authors Ellie Moss and Rebecca Harris have called for a global, multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder approach to tackling the growing problem of plastic waste and packaging.

The report outlines five global recommendations for action, including businesses following the Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information in the their plastic packaging communications, and global consistency when it comes to definitions relating to the content and reusability of packaging and disposable items.

The report also suggests restricting the use of the ‘chasing arrows’ symbol, and having definitions and technical requirements used in standards related to recyclability, compostability, and biodegradability better reflect real world conditions, with more attention to accessibility and consumer understanding.

Related stories: 

New guidelines address compostable packaging confusion

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has published new guidelines to help businesses make informed choices when considering compostable packaging.  

The guidelines were developed in partnership with the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA).

Designed to cut through confusion, Considerations for Compostable Packaging aims to help industry professionals – particularly brand owners, packaging technologists and designers and food service providers – decide when and where to use certified compostable plastic packaging, and associated items like cutlery.

Based on systems and infrastructure currently available, APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said the guidelines identify potential applications and opportunities for certified compostable plastic packaging, with a strong emphasis on packaging that can also facilitate food waste collection. 

“These include food caddy liners, fruit and vegetable stickers and ‘closed-loop’ situations such as festivals,” she said. 

Recommendations are also provided on how to correctly communicate with end consumers, including accurate certification and correct language for labelling and marketing.

Additionally, statements to avoid are highlighted, including misleading terminology and “greenwashing claims” that contribute to unintentional litter and contamination of mechanical recycling systems. 

“With brands facing intense consumer pressure to move away from plastics, coupled with thousands of Australian food outlets turning to takeaway packaging formats for the first time, there’s never been a more important time for businesses to receive accurate and consistent information about compostable packaging,” Ms Donnelly said. 

“Compostable plastics currently account for around 0.1 per cent of plastic packaging on market in Australia. Yet we know that it is a market that is growing and one that causes real confusion – for both industry and end consumers.” 

According to ABA President Rowan Williams, the development of Considerations for Compostable Packaging was an opportunity for peak industry bodies to collaborate on guidelines for industry and consumers.

“The collaborative nature of the work in getting this guideline out has been outstanding. The guidelines look up and down the value chain, at where the raw material comes from and also where the finished packaging will go to, such as organics recycling, in the future,” he said. 

“The ABA, as custodian of the only verification scheme for claims of certified compostability to the Australian Standards, welcomes the advent of the guidelines and looks forward to continuing collaboration with APCO, AORA and industry stakeholders.” 

AORA Chair Peter Wadewitz said as a suitable alternative to non-recyclable packaging, AORA supports the use of AS4736 certified materials for the source separation of food waste in the home or in commercial settings.

“Compostable coffee cups, capsules and compostable bags can all be successfully utilised through normal organic recycling processes, without concern of contamination,” he said. 

The full report is available to download on the APCO website.

Related stories: 

X