Matthew Mills announced as 2020 Sustainability Champion at the APCO Awards

Matthew Mills, Marketing Manager of long-time industry supporter Garden City Plastics has won the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s (APCO) 2020 Sustainability Champion Award.

The award recognises individual commitment for a range of criteria, including dedication to embedding sustainability into organisational practice, leadership, outstanding performance, standout achievements and personal growth.

Matthew was recognised for his determination ‘to build commitment to a new industry-wide approach at all levels of the Horticultural Sector, to enable and further improve recycling rates for plant packaging produced and placed on the Australian market.’

On winning Matthew said “I am so humbled to be recognised for this award. The work that I have done as a part of the GCP team has really been on behalf of so many proactive Nursery Industry operators from every part of Australia who were asking how they could be sure theirs was a more sustainably focused operation.”

“The chance for me to connect people with ideas and bring a simple but meaningful, straightforward, approach to closing the Polypropylene loop in Horticulture has been incredible. People from every part of our industry and its peak bodies have been tremendously supportive and this idea has now grown to have its own working group through GIA and APCO as well as a fully funded product stewardship grant from the Federal Government of almost $550,000”

The citation also recognised Matthew’s efforts for demonstrating ‘that industry-led Closed Loop Recycling can be a reality and that a circular economy for horticultural packaging is emerging as a rallying point for in greenlife production throughout Australia, for Horticulturists, Industry Peak Bodies, Retailers and Consumers alike.’

Peter Vaughan, CEO of Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) congratulated Matthew on behalf of the industry and GIA.

“This award is recognition of his vision and passion to address the recycling of polypropylene plant packaging. His commitment to the initiative, with support from Garden City Plastics has been fundamental to the successful application by GIA and APCO for federal funding to support the establishment of the Polypropylene Plant Packaging Recycling Program,” said Peter.

Garden City Plastics were also acknowledged as finalist in the Industry Sector Awards for their performance against the Packaging Sustainability Framework criteria. They kept very good company across the nine award sub-categories amongst a competitive field which included Qantas Airways, Kellogg (Aust), Telstra, Keep Cup and Proctor and Gamble Australia.

The online awards ceremony was attended by over 170 guests. GIA were invited to attend the annual APCO Awards ceremony on 18 November 2020 following the successful joint submission with APCO to the National Product Stewardship Fund.

The APCO Awards recognise and celebrate Australian organisations that are leading the way in sustainable packaging design and innovation; and organisational commitment to delivering the 2025 National Packaging Targets and building a national circular economy approach to packaging. Visit the APCO website for a full list of finalists and winners.

2020 APCO Sustainability Champion – Matthew Mills
APCO Award Citation

Matthew Mills is the National Sales and Marketing Manager at Garden City Plastics, the largest manufacturer and supplier of recycled horticultural pots and containers in Australia. As a believer in large scale repurposing and conservation of resources, Matthew leads an Australian team focused on listening carefully to customer needs in order to find new ways to respond and innovate, always with an eye to maximising the opportunity to recover and reuse materials already flowing through the market. Matthew has been determined to build commitment to a new industry-wide approach at all levels of the Horticultural Sector, to enable and further improve recycling rates for plant packaging produced and placed on the Australian market. Fully aligned and supported by APCO’s Collective Impact approach, Matthew’s efforts have demonstrated that industry-led Closed Loop Recycling can be a reality and that a circular economy for horticultural packaging is emerging as a rallying point for in Green Life production throughout Australia, for Horticulturists, Industry Peak Bodies, Retailers and Consumers alike.