APCO launches sustainable packaging roadmap for dairy industry

Tuesday, 19 October, 2021

APCO launches sustainable packaging roadmap for dairy industry

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) report, ‘Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap to 2025’, was developed in partnership with Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Products Federation, with the goal of achieving the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The roadmap provides a collective vision and framework for how to improve the sustainability of dairy packaging in the future, based on the current progress. Opportunities for collaboration are discussed, specifically regarding reaching a sustainable circular economy for packaging in the Australian dairy industry.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO of APCO, said: “This roadmap clearly lays out the path the dairy industry needs to take in the coming years to achieve the 2025 Targets. Collective action across the supply chain is an absolute necessity and it is fantastic to see the willingness already on display across the dairy industry to make the transition to a more sustainable model.”

As part of the plan outlined in the report, dairy manufacturers will be reviewing their packaging in order to assess its sustainability and implementing changes to optimise it where possible. Reuse, reduction, elimination, increased recyclability and recyclable content are all factors that manufacturers will be considering.

Key targets outlined in the roadmap include:

  • 100% of packaging designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
  • Collection and recycling systems available for all dairy packaging by 2025
  • 80% of supermarket products to be labelled with the Australasian Recycling Label by December 2023
  • 50% average post-consumer recycled content across all dairy packaging by 2025

To achieve these goals, dairy industry manufacturers are seeking support from other stakeholders. Packaging manufacturers and researchers are being encouraged to provide innovative alternatives to non-recyclable formats, while recyclers are being asked to provide an increased amount of food-grade recycled resins to packaging manufacturers to boost adoption of recycled content in their packages.

Janine Waller, Executive Director at the Australian Dairy Products Federation, said: “The industry is investing in its future with 13 dairy manufacturers and the three major retailers formally endorsing the roadmap.”

ALDI Australia has proudly endorsed the roadmap and committed to pursuing the recommendations for a collective impact approach. “Australia’s dairy sector has worked tirelessly to identify opportunities and challenges as well as outline strategies for improvement, and ALDI is excited to do our part in supporting the collective industry vision to establish a sustainable packaging future,” said Adrian Nel, Group Buying Director – Chiller and Alcohol, ALDI Australia.

Jenny Phillips, Packaging Sustainability Manager for Asia–Pacific at Fonterra, said: “When it comes to making packaging more sustainable, particularly for dairy products, it’s not an easy process and there are lots of challenges to overcome. However, by working together as an industry we can not only reach the 2025 National Packaging Targets, we can do so faster — which is a great thing for our environment.”

The roadmap also asks for action from consumers to recycle or reuse their packages where possible and for governments at all levels to provide regulatory frameworks to ensure that end-to-end resource recovery and recycling systems have high safety standards and are appropriately verified.

Mark McDonald, Executive General Manager Beverage Operations at Bega, said: “This is a great step forward for the entire dairy industry. At Bega, we are fully aligned with the industry roadmap that has been put forward and we are committed to delivering on our own sustainability targets as well as the 2025 National Packaging Targets.”

David Nation, Managing Director, Dairy Australia, said: “This is another great example of collaboration across the dairy industry. It’s the first time a national dairy sector has come together anywhere in the world at this level to endorse a collective call to action and work together to deliver a sustainable approach to packaging.”

The full report can be read here and its executive summary is available here.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/style67

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