Industry giants and community groups JOIN FORCES to tackle Australia's plastic packaging waste crisis
Australia's retail giants, industry leaders and community groups converged on Bloomberg Australia HQ in Sydney on Thursday July 12 for a unique environment sustainability forum, The Future of Plastic Packaging - Driving Change for Consumer Packaged Goods.
Hosted and facilitated by Boomerang Alliance director Jeff Angel and deputy director Jayne Paramor - in thanks to the generous support of Bloomberg Australia - representatives from environmental and sustainability authorities and organisations met with community groups, leading commercial retailers and industry giants to discuss the future of plastic packaging in consumer goods and the infrastructure holes that need to be filled to improve Australia's capacity on waste collection, processing and recycling.
Consumer goods manufacturers Coca Cola, Danone, Unilever and Kellogg's, tech companies Fuji Xerox and Dell and supermarket retailers Coles and Aldi connected with senior figures from the NSW EPA and local community groups including Clean Up Australia, Responsible Cafes, Bye Bye Plastic, Planet Ark, Close The Loop, in addition to Sydney local government representatives from Randwick, Waverly and Inner West Councils.
Taking to the stage, the guest panel - Brooke Donnelly – CEO, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation; Justin Dowel – CEO, Nature’s Organics; Jo Taranto – Co-founder, 5 For Ryde / Good for the Hood; Gayle Sloan – CEO, Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA); Richard Fine – Founder, Product Development & Sustainability Director, BioPak | Marketing Committee, Australasian Bioplastics Association, shared their expertise and vision for the future.
JUSTIN DOWEL, Natures Organics said: '[Corporate] sustainability managers need to know where the raw material is coming from? What impact is it going to have because it all makes it way back into the ocean. These are the things you have a responsibility to think about..and responsibility to force change.'
JO TORANTO, 5 For Ryde / Good for the Hood said: 'The consensus is - plastic packaging protects health and protects against unhygienic practices.The general consensus is we are going to get E.coli and die if we don’t cover our food in plastic. What we really need to talk about is the effect of plastic on our health. That is a far bigger issue.'
BROOKE DONNELLY, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation: 'You have the power in this relationship. You, the consumer, can challenge commercial retailers who want and need to make a profit. As a consumer, you and I have the power to influence how something is packaged.'
GAYLE SLOAN - Waste Management Association of Australia: 'Every council's waste management has the same definition in their contracts regarding what's recyclable. We have conveyors and depending on the money and infrastructure available, they'll use infrareds to split out the different types of plastics. Most material recovery facilities do this but at a cost and we don't have enough people buying back [the recycled material]. That's the problem'
RICHARD FINE - BioPak: 'There's a lot of greenwashing out there providing vague claims of 'biodegradable' which is confusing the consumer and damaging the industry as a lot of these products will simply break down and fragment into small pieces. It's important that companies are marketing their products as 'compostable' get certified to a recognised standard.
[L-R: Richard Fine (BioPak), Brooke Donnelly (APCO), Justin Dowel (Nature's Organics), Jo Taranto (Good for the Hood) and Gayle Sloan (WMAA), Jayne Paramor (Boomerang Alliance)]
NSW Greens MP Justin Field, Emily Dyball (NSW Greens) & Peter Stahel (Essential Media)
Nature's Organics CEO Justin Dowel and colleague, Maree Gauci (Nature's Organics)