Packaging The New Normal: APCO

Source: Waste Management Review.

With much debate surrounding how COVID-19 will shape Australia in the long-term, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation is exploring opportunities to accelerate sustainable packaging, writes CEO Brooke Donnelly.  

There has been much debate about how COVID-19 will shape our country in the long term.

For professionals in the packaging and resource recovery industries – one of the most persistent questions has been whether COVID-19 will accelerate or hinder efforts for packaging sustainability in Australia?

It’s a challenging question to unpack. We are after all in largely uncharted territory – professionally, economically and socially.

In the short term there have certainly been consequences. Under lockdown many consumers faced a greater reliance on single use products, while greater restrictions emerged around reusable packaging formats, most notably coffee cups.

Once the immediate risks are gone, it will be imperative that industry provides a united voice to discourage these from becoming long-term behavioural patterns.

For the recycling industry, lockdown conditions have also meant added stress to the kerbside system.

In May ACOR reported a 10 per cent growth in householder kerbside recycling, as well as unprecedented levels of contamination in some locations, especially from soft plastics.

Meanwhile for the restaurants and food industry, many businesses have been required to navigate takeaway packaging for the first time.

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