National summit to explore take-up of reusable and recyclable plastics

A national plastics summit focused on designing reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic products will be held in Canberra on February 14.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley is hosting the summit, which will “will explore opportunities to unlock growth for new industries and new markets”.

“We simply can’t keep creating virgin plastic on the scale we are today,” Ms Ley said, “and this summit will look at keeping plastics in use as long and as often as possible, adding value to the material multiple times.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is calling on major parties in this year’s federal election campaign to commit to $100 million per annum over four years to fund local government circular waste innovation projects, particularly in rural, regional, and remote areas.

Ms Ley made the summit announcement while visiting Cadbury Australia in Hobart in December, where the chocolate manufacturer unveiled its latest prototypes of recycled plastic packaging.

Mondelez International, Cadbury’s parent company, has committed to buying enough recycled plastic packaging to wrap 50 million blocks of chocolate.

“This exciting development in recycling soft plastics can be traced back to the collaboration between companies at the first national waste summit in 2020 and collaboration with industry is at the heart of our transformation of Australia’s recycling industry,” Ms Ley said.

“As we continue to work with consumers and industry in expanding local recycling capability, the goal will be to process more and more recycled plastic in Australia,” she said.