The Australasian round table series on sustainable packaging kicked off in Auckland yesterday, featuring experts who delivered presentations on strategies to move the industry toward greater sustainability.
Organised by the Sustainable Packaging Alliance in conjunction with the Global Product Stewardship Council and the Packaging Council of New Zealand, the event encouraged participants to debate issues around packaging sustainability. Victor Barrichello, relationship marketing manager for SPA, was pleased with the discussions. He said, “The purpose is to engage in dialogue, get fresh perspectives and stimulate debate.”
Russ Martin, president of the Global Product Stewardshio Council, offered an overview and details of different programmes in place, and under proposal, around the world. He noted the differences between Europe and the US and included Asia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in his presentation. He said, “Everyone is seeing how product stewardship schemes are important for sustainability. A lot of brand owners are trying to figure out how to have a more integrated and co-ordinated approach. Industries are going to want greater control over this and how to make it happen.”
Dana Petersen, senior analyst at the Waste and Resources Group under the Ministry of Environment, gave an overview of how companies and the community can operate alongside the Waste Minimisation Act. She said, “Government preference has been for industry to step up to the challenge and develop solutions. However, there are many opportunities for partnership with the Waste Minimisation Fund. For any product stewardship scheme, we need to show it works. We also need to be able to document results in waste minimisation.”
Michelle Bollinger, general manager, Kimberley-Clark New Zealand, explained how the company became involved with Envirocomp in composting disposable nappies. This initiative began in Christchurch and the company will now look at expanding it. She said, “Everyday 1.3 billion people use our products and we feel that single use products shouldn’t be out there. We are saying, ‘Let’s understand the impact our products have on the environment.’ Sanitary hygiene products (disposable nappies) make up three per cent of landfills. Kimberly-Clark has signed a global agreement with Envirocomp. We have the opportunity to do the right thing for the environment and it’s a good business decision for us in the long term as well.”