Plastic woes

Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet.

“Breaking the Plastic Wave,” a global analysis using first-of-its kind modelling, has found the volume of plastic on the market will double, the annual volume of plastic entering the ocean will almost triple, and ocean plastic stocks will quadruple by 2040 if we fail to act.

Fortunately, steps are being taken.

Last month, leading businesses, NGOs and governments from across the plastic supply chain in the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands regions united behind the ANZPAC Plastics Pact (ANZPAC).

The ambitious new program aims to transform our response to plastic. ANZPAC members will work towards four clear, actionable targets by 2025:

  • Eliminating “unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging” through redesign, innovation and alternative (reuse) delivery models.
  • Making 100 per cent of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  • Increasing plastic packaging collected and effectively recycled by 25 per cent for each geography within the ANZPAC region.
  • Averaging 25 per cent recycled content in plastic packaging across the region.

Among ANZPAC’s founding members and supporters are The Arnott’s Group, Asahi Beverages, Coca-Cola South pacific, Colgate Palmolive, ecostore, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Pepsico ANZ and Unilever, and retailers ALDI, Coles and Woolworths.

While many in the industry have welcomed the pact, the Boomerang Alliance of 53 NGOs warns it is not the major step needed due to the voluntary nature of the pact.

Boomerang Alliance Director Jeff Angel says if all necessary measures are not in place by mid-2022 – and an independent review is not confident all the targets can be met – then all targets should be mandated by the start of 2023.

“This gives three years to achieve the targets – that is change product design and content; invest in new processing; and place on the market,” he said.

Read more on sustainability and how the industry is addressing plastic waste in the June issue of Retail World.