APCO launches roadmap to fuel dairy industry push towards the 2025 Targets

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), in partnership with Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Products Federation, have today published the Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap to 2025.

The comprehensive resource looks at the current state of play regarding sustainable packaging in the dairy industry and what needs to be done as the industry works towards achieving the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

Considerable progress has already been made by dairy manufacturers but the industry continues to face a series of barriers and challenges. The new roadmap provides a collective vision and framework for improving the sustainability of dairy packaging moving forward, along with direction for the industry on the progress now required, highlighting opportunities for collaboration on the road towards the 2025 Targets and the development of a sustainable circular packaging ecosystem in Australia.

As part of the plan laid out in the roadmap, dairy manufacturers will review all of their packaging to identify and implement opportunities to optimise for sustainability. This includes exploring possibilities for the elimination and/or reduction of packaging items, reusable packaging, improved recyclability and the increased use of recycled content.

To achieve these goals, dairy industry manufacturers are seeking support from other stakeholders. The roadmap lays out a number of actions needed across the supply chain, including:

Packaging manufacturers and researchers to innovate and develop alternatives to non-recyclable packaging formats

  • Recyclers to provide sufficient quantities of food-grade recycled resins to allow manufacturers to meet recycled content targets without compromising product quality and safety
  • Consumers to reuse or recycle dairy packaging at end of life
  • National, state, territory and local governments to provide fit-for-purpose regulatory frameworks, to ensure safety standards and verification of end-to-end resource recovery and recycling systems, through inter alia:
    • The National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM)
    • Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ)
    • Industry-based regulators
    • Other instruments as required to support achievement of the 2025 Targets and ensure appropriate safety standards are in place.

The roadmap was developed in collaboration with the Australian dairy manufacturing industry with extensive consultation across the entire dairy packaging value chain over more than 18 months.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly says: “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.”

Dairy Australia Managing Director David Nation says: “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.”

Australian Dairy Products Federation Executive Director Janine Waller says: “The industry is investing in its future with 13 dairy manufacturers and the three major retailers formally endorsing the roadmap. In 2019-20, the dairy processing industry re-invested nearly $476 million in capital and has a record of investing in sustainability initiatives with a focus on reducing packaging waste. This roadmap will help further the industry’s efforts and we look forward to sharing achievements as we work towards 2025 National Packaging Targets.”

Fonterra Packaging Sustainability Manager for Asia Pacific Jenny Phillips says: “The Roadmap is a great example of companies across the dairy industry coming together to deal with a common issue. 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.”

Bega Executive General Manager Beverage Operations Mark McDonald says: “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.”

The full Roadmap and Executive Summary are available to download on the APCO website.

ALDI Australia endorses Roadmap

ALDI Australia has formally endorsed the Roadmap and commends its ambitious targets and is committed to doing its part to drive packaging sustainability in Australia’s dairy supply chain.

The Roadmap includes a range of strategic actions that the industry can voluntarily take to contribute to key packaging targets and outcomes by 2025, including the 2025 National Packaging Targets, the ADIC Dairy Sustainability Framework, the Australian Government’s National Waste Policy and corresponding Action Plan, and the National Plastics Plan.

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.

ALDI Australia Group Buying Director – Chiller and Alcohol, Adrian Nel says: “ALDI Australia is proud to endorse the Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap, a first-of-its-kind blueprint to deliver packaging circularity for the Australian dairy sector. 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.

“We look forward to working with APCO, Dairy Australia, the Australian Dairy Products Foundation and our dairy supply partners to collaboratively enable the market transition that will support the delivery of packaging sustainability for Australia’s dairy industry.

“The Roadmap’s targets and strategies are closely aligned with our own Plastics and Packaging commitments, announced in 2019. This includes a goal to reduce plastic packaging across all own-branded products by 25% by 2025 as well as achieving 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. From the outset, ALDI recognised that we can only achieve these goals and have a collective impact by partnering closely with our suppliers.”

As an endorser of the Roadmap, ALDI Australia has committed to:

  • Work towards the ambitions, objectives and strategies outlined in the Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap
  • Participate in the industry-led collective impact approach to drive, track, monitor and report on achievement of Roadmap objectives.
  • Continue to work with industry to identify and commit to measurable industry-specific targets for packaging sustainability.

“Today’s announcement is another milestone in ALDI’s continued partnership with APCO. ALDI was a founding member of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact, an agreement that brings together government and industry stakeholders to take action in creating a circular economy for plastics. ALDI is committed to being a first-mover on plastics and packaging reduction and recognises our environmental responsibility as a major Australian retailer,” says Mr Nel.