Thursday, April 25, 2024

Metcash signs up to National Plastics Recycling Scheme

Australia’s leading wholesaler Metcash will be supporting the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS) to help close the loop on soft plastic waste.

The NPRS is an industry-led scheme created to fill the gaps in Australia’s current soft plastic recycling capability and to establish a long-term circular economy for household soft plastics.

Metcash, the largest supplier to independent supermarkets in Australia including IGA and Foodland stores, is the first grocery retailer to officially sign on to support the NPRS by providing packaging data from its private label grocery products, as well as financial support and insights to shape and further promote the program.

The aims of the NPRS are to increase the availability of food-grade recycled content in packaging, incentivise sustainable packaging design and increase the recycling rate of soft plastics. Other NPRS supporters include suppliers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as Mondelēz International, Unilever and PepsiCo.

The NPRS to-date has focused on trialling kerbside collections of soft plastic household waste for recycling into food-grade plastic packaging as part of a new, onshore circular system.

Metcash Food Executive General Manager, Merchandise Estella Young says: “We recognise the opportunity the NPRS presents to advance our progress on reducing waste to landfill through working cooperatively with industry on a scalable, long-lasting solution that is accessible to all Australians.

“Part of Metcash’s vision is to create a sustainable future and supporting the NPRS aligns with Metcash’s priorities of increasing the use of sustainable packaging in our products and reducing packaging waste in our supply chain”, she said.

“In addition to existing initiatives we have in place to reduce waste to landfill in our distribution centres and independent retail network, by supporting the NPRS we will accelerate new packaging solutions and further help our shoppers recycle their soft-plastic household waste as conveniently as possible.”

As a member of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), Metcash has adopted its 2025 national packaging targets including increasing the amount of reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging and the phase-out of problematic and unnecessary single-use packaging.

Metcash and 7-Eleven join industry-led soft plastics recycling scheme

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) applauds both Metcash and 7-Eleven for joining the industry’s collaborative effort to recycle soft plastics, making them the first retailers to support the initiative.

The industry-led National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), unprecedented in its scope and scale, aims to transform hard-to-recycle soft plastics destined for landfill into food grade packaging and other materials. This will be done through collecting household soft plastics from multiple collection channels, including kerbside, and plugging gaps in the recycling chain to create a truly circular economy and a long-term solution to recycling soft plastics.

7-Eleven and Metcash join over 40 brands including Nestle, Unilever and Fonterra who are committed to a robust circular economy for soft plastics.

AFGC calls on all industries that use soft plastics including manufacturers and retailers of fashion and general merchandise to help resource this joint effort and build the processing infrastructure required to create a circular economy.

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden says: “We’re delighted to see Metcash and 7-Eleven joining this exciting industry initiative. Collaboration with all parts of the packaging and recycling supply chain is central to advancing a sustainable circular economy for soft plastics in Australia.

“But supermarkets and food and grocery suppliers cannot do this alone. This is bigger than any single industry, so we need everybody on board.”

The future success of the NPRS will allow participants to confidently access and make soft plastic packaging with recycled content for the Australian market. It fosters partnerships in the entire supply chain including recyclers, manufacturers, packagers, councils, waste collectors and retailers.

“We commend the recent restart of a return-to-store soft plastics recycling trial in Melbourne by Coles, Woolworths and ALDI. AFGC sees this as an important milestone towards reviving consumer confidence in the system. Soft plastics recycling is a large and complex issue that will require a large scale and long-term response from all sectors.”

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