Take the industry pledge today - Overview of the sustainable packaging in horticulture workshop

On Friday 19 June, over 60 industry stakeholders attended the first industry-wide workshop on sustainable packaging in horticulture.

The workshop, which was successfully conducted via Zoom facilitation was jointly hosted by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), Garden City Plastics (GCP) and Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA). It was a follow up from the session on sustainable packaging conducted at the GIA Conference in Perth in March.

Participants were provided with an overview of the packaging issue for Australia and heard about the challenges for the industry in relation to collection and sorting of PP5, as previously covered in our story on ‘Closing the loop on polypropylene (PP5)’ (by Gabrielle Stannus, 28 May 2020).

The workshop identified an industry goal to increase its use of recycled PP5 from 8,000 tonnes per year to 12,000 tonnes per year, a 50 % increase by 2025.

The discussion identified that while plastic plant pots had been the initial driver for the program, all products made from PP5 including plant labels, trays, stakes and tags across the horticulture supply chain, could be included in the collection plan. During the workshop, it was emphasised that the PP5 recycling scheme was an ‘all of industry’ opportunity to support sustainable packaging in horticulture and open to all industry businesses.

Workshop participants had an opportunity to contribute to the initiative through smaller breakout groups where they were asked to consider the national roll out of the program, identification of resource use and leakage points, and potential for the application of the Australasian Recycling Label (arl.org.au) and ‘Australian Made’ labelling for Australian PP5 plant packaging.

Participants also had the opportunity to review and contribute to a draft Open Letter to the Horticultural Industry calling for packaging sustainability scheduled for public launch in August 2020.

Overall, the workshop was very positive with participants from all sectors of the greenlife industry providing input into the scheme. It was acknowledged that the initiative provided an opportunity for the greenlife industry to maximise the resource recovery potential for PP5 in Australia and support consumer education for pot recycling pathways.

What can your business do today, to support sustainable packaging in horticulture?

The workshop discussion was engaging and motivating, encouraging the actions needed by industry to ensure success of the scheme. So, what can you do today to support the initiative?

PLEDGE

Today, you can visit www.pp5.com.au and in less than two minutes take the industry pledge to harmonise the use of PP5 plastic for all plant packaging and labelling in Australian horticulture. By providing your business logo when you made the pledge, your commitment will be displayed on the scrolling banner on the PP5.com.au homepage, showing those businesses that are publicly supporting the program.

SIGN

Industry stakeholders who would like to be a signatory to the Open Letter to the Horticultural Industry calling for packaging sustainability will first be required to sign the Pledge and while doing so, will be able to nominate their commitment to the Open Letter by checking the appropriate box on the signup form. Just go to the PP5.com.au website and click on the Industry Pledge button.

EDUCATE

Talk to your customers about the PP5 initiative and the recyclability of plant pots, labels, stakes and trays. Encourage them to visit www.pp5.com.au to learn more about the initiative and to support the scheme.

Next steps

The Open Letter to the Horticultural Industry calling for packaging sustainability is open for signatories until 31 July, after which, signatories will be collated and the final letter will be launched publicly in early August. This will be accompanied by a communications campaign, to raise awareness around the recycling scheme and encourage wider sectoral participation to establish a national recovery and reprocessing program. More information on how to participate in getting the message out, will be provided to participating businesses, closer to the launch date.

Friday’s workshop marks the beginning of a wider initiative to develop an industry-specific plan of action to improve packaging sustainability across horticulture. It identified areas for further consideration including research for market drivers, industry engagement plans, consumer education and opportunities to expand the recycling initiative. On-going work with the group will continue, to further develop a more broad, sector-specific strategy and expand engagement with industry to provide support in addressing other resource recovery challenges.


GIA will continue to update the industry on the scheme as details are finalised. In the meantime, a copy of the slide deck from the presentation is available for download here.

For more information about workshop and progress for scheme, please contact Jayne on (02) 8381 3700 or jparamor@packagingcovenant.org.au .