The federal government has concluded the first ever National Plastics Summit reinforcing its commitment to working with industry to increase our recycling capabilities, ensuring markets for recycled products and reducing plastic waste.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said this week’s National Plastics Summit, attended by more than 200 representatives from local and global businesses, state and local government, industry and community sectors, has set the tone for the future of plastic waste management in Australia.
“The Prime Minister has outlined three pillars of action around recycling plastic waste. First and most importantly, we need to take responsibility for our waste,” Mr Entsch said.
“This is a passion of mine and one that I am determined to see implemented.
“We can all do our part in Far North Queensland such as encouraging demand for recycled products at home and by purchasing products that are re-usable, as opposed to those intended for single use.
“And, through government intervention, we know that banning the export of waste plastics will keep more of the raw stock here for remanufacting, helping to lift industry capacity and our ability to use these materials constructively.
“These are the first of a number of measures the Morrison Government will take to build demand and capacity in the sector.”
Mr Entsch said across from Capital Hill in Old Parliament House students from around Australia met with the Governor General and Her Excellency Mrs Hurley and discussed issues around plastic waste and recycling.
“It was fantastic to see and to hear students from across Australia, including Molly Steer and Jordi Turner form Cairns, get involved and show true leadership in this area,” he said.
“They sent a message of hope along with the conviction that we can and should make a difference.
The federal government also announced that it would change Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to make sure every procurement undertaken by a Commonwealth agency considers environmental sustainability and use of recycled content as a factor in determining value for money.
Some key industry pledges made as part of the Summit were:
- $500 million from the Pact Group in sustainable packaging, reuse and recycling initiatives that will create new jobs.
- Nestlé and Australian recycler iQ Renew delivering a trial of soft plastic kerbside collection that will see soft plastics collected from over 100,000 homes processing 750 tonnes of the material. Nestlé also committed to reducing its use of virgin plastic by one third by 2025 and committed to procure globally AUD$2.3billion worth of recycled food grade plastic.
- McDonalds to remove 585 tonnes of plastic cutlery from their Australian stores by the end of the year on top of its previous commitment to removing 500 million plastic straws.
- PepsiCo has pledged $650,000 to support Greening the Green, a partnership with Clean Up Australia, REDcycle and Replas. The three-year national program aims to educate consumers on soft plastic recovery and soft plastic recycling.
- Cleanaway, Pact and Asahi have announced details of their plastic pelletising facility in Albury/Wodonga processing approximately 28,000 tonnes (900 million bottles) per year.
- QANTAS is removing 100 million single-use plastic items, such as cups, cutlery and meal boxes by end 2020 replacing them with compostable items.
- Unilever will halve the amount of virgin plastic it uses by buying more recycled plastic and reducing the amount of plastic it uses in its packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes.
- Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation will 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% of all plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025.