After a decade the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) has extended its range of services to cover all packaging materials and marked this with a name change to The Packaging Forum.
Guests from local and central government and the community were told at a meeting in Wellington last month that the time is right for a new organisation to provide members and the wider industry with an organisation focused on product stewardship for all packaging materials.
Speaking on behalf of The Packaging Forum, the founding chair of the GPF David Carter said that the new organisation marks the start of a new chapter for the packaging industry.
“We already operate two voluntary product stewardship schemes for glass packaging and public place recycling which received accreditation from the minister for the Environment under the Waste Minimisation Act (2008). During our three year term managing the Love NZ public place recycling programme which commenced in 2011, we worked with brand owners, manufacturers and the hospitality sector to increase the recycling of paper, cans and plastic packaging and have established partnerships with 33 local councils to improve collaboration between industry and local government. With the accreditation of our second voluntary product stewardship scheme (Public Place Recycling), it became apparent that something needed to change either as an industry or as an organisation so that our two accredited schemes could be part of a multi packaging association.
“We have changed our structure to become a broad based packaging organisation operating supported and coordinated individual schemes seeing this as the best way forward for industry and the community. Our focus is outward. This means that in addition to looking after the needs of our members we also seek to look after society’s needs. The two are not mutually exclusive.”
The Packaging Forum has embarked on:
- An annual national litter count which will provide baseline data enabling industry to work with local government and communities on strategies to change behaviors and reduce littering. This data will provide a snapshot of litter in eight urban areas where 53 percent of the population is resident. This will help inform not just the packaging industry but other industry groups whose products are discarded in public places.
- Annual market research to better understand what people are recycling and how. This year plastic bottles have replaced glass bottles as the waste item most people think can be put in a recycling bin. Forty-one percent of people say they have public place recycling bins in their area. Thirty-one percent of people say there is a problem with litter in their area.
- Setting new targets for glass recovery, public place recycling and litter reduction.
The Packaging Forum will also conduct work to measure the overall packaging recovery rate for all packaging materials and to set targets for recycling as part of new material specific product stewardship schemes. The European average recovery rate was 78 percent in 2012 with a 65 percent recycling rate compared to 56 percent in New Zealand (2010 data).
Mr. Carter says these measures are important to increase recycling and to reduce littering.
“We believe that with effective product stewardship schemes in place this will help increase packaging recovery as has been achieved with glass over the past decade which has moved from a 50 percent to 69 percent recycling rate. As a member of the government’s Waste Advisory Board, I am aware of the need for robust data to support waste minimisation. The Packaging Forum will play a major role in commissioning and communicating data around packaging statistics, packaging waste and litter.”