Snack and confectionery company Mondelez International and food and beverage giant PepsiCo have agreed to cut their use of virgin plastic for packaging as part of increased efforts to eliminate and replace single-use plastics.
Pact Group, one of Australia’s largest rigid plastic product manufacturers, will invest $500 million into plastics recovery infrastructure, research and technology over the next five years.
Pact Group Non-Executive Chairman Raphael Geminder made the pledge at the first National Plastics Summit at Parliament House this week, following news the company plan to develop a plastic pelletising facility with Cleanaway and Asahi.
According to Mr Geminder, the company will partner with government and industry to invest in new facilities for sustainable packaging, reuse and recycling initiatives.
“Our stated vision is to include 30 per cent recycled content across our product portfolio by 2025. Across our business, this would be the equivalent of keeping nearly two billion plastic containers out of landfill,” Mr Geminder said.
“Just as importantly, we will be creating jobs for Australians in the circular economy – a new and growing sector where we believe Australia can lead the world.”
Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the commitment was encouraging, with industry leadership to reduce plastic waste, increase recycling and create jobs a critical outcome of the summit.
“Pact’s announcement at the National Plastics Summit follows announcements from major brands McDonald’s and Nestlé, with McDonald’s committing to phase out plastic cutlery by the end of 2020, removing 585 tonnes of plastic waste per annum,” Ms Ley said.
“This adds to McDonald’s previous commitment to phase out 500 million straws every year and takes the total annual plastic reduction to 860 tonnes.”
Furthermore, Nestlé will partner with waste management company IQ Renew on a soft plastics collection trial, to be tested at 100,000 homes.
“The recycling economy starts here, this is where we take what are now seen as problems and turn them into assets that create remanufactured products, which create jobs and which grow our economy,” Ms Ley said.
Additional commitments include $650,000 from PepsiCo to support Greening the Green, a program aimed at educating consumers on soft plastics, and Unilever announcing it will halve its use of virgin plastic in production and packaging by 2025.
The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation announced it would lead the development of the ANZPAC Plastic Pact, a new program within the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Plastics Pact Network.
“ANZPAC will provide the significant intervention required to meet Australia’s national plastic packaging target – that 70 per cent of all plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025,” Ms Ley said.
According to Assistant Waste Reduction Minister Trevor Evans, the summit was an important step in working with industry to drive long-term practical outcomes, such as increasing Australia’s recycling rates and domestic reprocessing capabilities.
“We are looking towards fundamentally changing the way we think about and manage our waste, and creating new markets for recycled products,” he said.
“This transformation towards a circular economy will both create jobs and help our environment.”
PepsiCo ANZ has partnered with REDcycle to help convert chip packets into furniture, bollards, signage and other sturdy products.
Consumers will be able to drop off chip packets and other soft plastics at participating supermarkets, which will go to REDcycle’s processing partner Replas to turn into fitness circuits, outdoor furniture and bollards.
- PepsiCo, Nestlé Waters, Danone to develop bio-based bottles
- Global initiative of 290 companies to end plastic waste
- Scrunching the issue of soft plastics
These recycled plastic products will be purchased by PepsiCo and donated to parks, public places and schools.
One of PepsiCo’s global Performance with Purpose goals is to achieve zero waste to landfill in direct operations by 2025 through efficient and responsible waste management.
Partnering with REDcycle complements PepsiCo’s strategy to design out waste by minimising the amount of materials used in packaging.
PepsiCo ANZ Environment Manager Janine Cannell said the company is pleased to be working with REDcycle.
“This is a great opportunity for us to recover what would otherwise go to landfill and use the recycled materials to better the communities we operate in,” Ms Cannell said.
REDcycle Director Liz Kasell said the company is delighted to have PepsiCo as REDcycle partners and looks forward to seeing what we can create using recycled materials.
UK charity Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme have led an initiative of more than 290 companies to end plastic waste pollution.
Companies including Veolia, Suez, H&M, Nestle, Philips, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, L’Oreal, Mars, WWF, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson have signed an agreement to reach long-term targets, which will be reviewed every 18 months.
- EU Parliament endorses ban on single-use plastics
- Scrunching the issue of soft plastics
- RED Group goes hard on soft plastics
The targets include eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging and moving to a reusable packaging model, ensuring 100 per cent of plastic packaging can be recycled or composted by 2025, and increasing the amount of recycled or reused plastics used in new packaging or products.
More than $200 million has been pledged by five venture capital funds to help build the circular economy for plastics.
“We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year. We need to move upstream to the source of the flow,” Ellen MacArthur said in a statement.
“The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic.
“This is just one step on what will be a challenging journey, but one which can lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment,” she said.
Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said the Global Commitment is an urgently needed step-change to move from a linear economy to a circular one.
“We want to act and lead by example. We will do our part to ensure that none of our packaging, including plastics, ends up in the natural environment,” Mr Schneider said.
PepsiCo has joined an alliance to advance the shared goal of creating beverage containers with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
The NaturALL Bottle Alliance is a research consortium formed in 2017 by Danone, Nestlé Waters and bio-based materials development company Origin Materials to accelerate the development of innovative packaging solutions made with 100 per cent sustainable and renewable resources.
The alliance also provides a progress report in its goal of developing and launching a PET1 plastic bottle made from bio-based material.
Launched in March 2017, the alliance uses biomass feedstocks, such as previously used cardboard and sawdust, so it does not divert resources or land from food production for human or animal consumption.
The technology being explored by the alliance represents a scientific breakthrough for the sector, and the alliance aims to make it available to the entire food and beverage industry.
PepsiCo vice chairman and chief scientific officer Mehmood Khan said creating more sustainable packaging requires innovation through the value chain.
“Producing PET from sustainable bio-based sources that do not diminish food resources and are fully recyclable is a great example of such innovation and an important contributor to PepsiCo’s sustainable packaging program,” Mr Khan said.
“Through our Performance with Purpose agenda, PepsiCo is committed to reducing the carbon impact of packaging in line with our goal to reduce absolute emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 per cent by 2030.
“Bio-based PET has the potential to reduce significantly the carbon footprint of our PET bottles, a huge contribution to our efforts in this area,” he said.
Origin Materials CEO John Bissell said PepsiCo is a welcome addition to the alliance because the the companies all share the goal of making renewable plastic a reality.
“Through the combined efforts of its members, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance is setting the bar for sustainability for an entire industry,” Mr Bissell said.
1PET – Polyethylene terephthalate is the most common plastic in polyester family and is used in fibers for clothing, containers for liquids and foods, thermoforming for manufacturing, and in combination with glass fiber for engineering resins.
PET is also known as having one the most developed collection and recycling systems in the world, making it a key asset for the circular economy of plastics.
Nestlé Waters’ head of research and development, Massimo Casella, said the alliance has taken an important step in working together to tackle the challenges around plastic packaging.
“Developing 100 per cent bio-based PET is one way Nestlé is working to use more materials from sustainably managed renewable resources,” he said.