Every year, Australians throw out approximately 1.9 million tonnes of packaging. This packaging waste produces an enormous amount of greenhouse gases, causes litter that often ends up blocking stormwater drains, or reach our waterways causing serious injuries to wildlife and marine creatures.
Recycling packaging materials is only one part of the solution. Reducing the amount of commercial packaging that we use, and trying to avoid it whenever possible is a much better long-term solution.
It is, however, obvious that commercial packaging has both economical as well as social benefits ? it contains, protects, preserves, helps in branding and marketing and also reduces waste due to damage. This means that completely avoiding packaging is not feasible.
The Australian Packaging Covenant
The Australian Packaging Covenant is an agreement, between the government and various companies, and aims to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. This will be through measures like:
? Designing and using recyclable and more efficient packaging, thus conserving resources.
? Facilitating increased recovery, re-use and recycling of packaging, including away-from-home recycling.
? Reducing incidences of packaging litter in order to minimise environmental impact.
Objectives of the covenant
Waste hierarchy suggests that the highest priority be placed on avoiding or minimising packaging waste. This is followed by reusing, recycling and recovering, with lowest priority for waste disposal.
The covenant realises that the responsibility for reducing packaging waste has to be shared by everyone involved: the supply chain companies (including manufacturers, raw material suppliers, brand owners, distributers and retailers), consumers, waste management and recycling companies as well as the government.
The performance goals listed by the covenant include:
? Design goals: Designing optimised packaging that minimises use of resources and environmental impact, without any compromise to product safety or quality.
? Recycling goals: Increasing the efficiency of packaging waste collection and recycling.
? Product stewardship goals: All signatories to demonstrate their commitment to product stewardship.
Currently, more than 80% of retail brands in Australia are signatories to the covenant, in addition to the government signatories. While participation in the covenant is voluntary, additional National Environmental Protection Guidelines are in place to reduce environmental degradation and to ensure that non-participating companies are not at an advantage.
At T2 Environmental, we are fully committed to the goal of ?Zero Waste to Landfill?. We work with companies to provide them with waste and recycling management plans that can help this cause. Using sustainable materials and products, reducing waste at source and recycling are ways by which every individual or business can contribute.
Call us on 1300 578 707 for a free, no-obligation quote for your packaging recycling requirement.