Industry seeks ongoing commitment to managing packaging waste

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 16th April 2008

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has called on Environment Ministers to reject calls for a national container deposit system ahead of discussions at the Environment Protection and Heritage Council meeting in Melbourne tomorrow (Thursday 17 April).

AFGC Chief Executive Dick Wells said that industry supports an informed debate that considers all the economic, social and environmental aspects of waste management policy but was not supportive of simplistic responses to complex problems.

“While there have been calls from South Australian Minister Gail Gago for the establishment of a national container deposit system, this would address only 3% of the entire waste stream and would duplicate systems that already exist for recycling bottles and cans through kerbside collections.

“The current co-regulatory arrangements through the National Packaging Covenant have commitment from all sectors of industry and the majority of state and local governments and where there has been active involvement we are clearly seeing results.

“For example, Victoria is now recycling 24 kg more packaging per capita per year than South Australia – without a container deposit system.

“We’ve also seen considerable improvements in NSW and Queensland, who have been the actively involved through the Covenant in identifying projects to recover a wide range of packaging, not just bottles and cans,” Mr Wells said.

Mr Wells said that through the proactive engagement of industry and governments, the Covenant is now targeting solutions to increase glass recovery and improve recycling in the commercial and industrial sector.

“The AFGC, through its commitment to the National Packaging Covenant and the Packaging Stewardship Forum (PSF), is also working with partners across Australia to increase the recovery of food and beverage post-consumer packaging and to reduce littering.”

Mr Wells said the AFGC looked forward to constructive and ongoing commitment from industry, government and those NGOs who are interested in working together to develop new and innovative solutions to managing packaging waste in the new millennium.

Environment Ministers are meeting on Thursday 17 April at the Environment Protection and Heritage Council meeting to discuss a range of issues including waste management policy.