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KM welcomes Australia’s soft plastics roadmap

KM Packaging has welcomed the Soft Plastics Taskforce’s recently released Roadmap to Restart, which outlines the steps needed to relaunch a supermarket soft plastic collection scheme in Australia, following the suspension of the REDcycle program.

Under the current plan of the Taskforce, which is made up of major supermarket retailers Aldi, Coles and Woolworths, an initial in-store collection pilot is anticipated to launch in select stores later this year, with plans for a nationwide roll-out by next year.

We have recently established our official business entity in Australia and we remain committed to providing sustainable solutions to suit our customers’ requirements in the region.

This commitment includes launching our K-Peel range of non-PET lidding films, PCR films and home and industrial compostable lidding film K-Nature Laminate 50.

We can also provide 30% PCR content PET options for customers who choose to use the “leave attached/tethered” option where aPET or rPET trays are used for kerbside collection.

Over the coming months, the Soft Plastics Taskforce hopes to engage other retailers, e-commerce platforms, and consumer brands that generate soft plastics to contribute to developing the new in-store collection program.

However, there is some concern the program will be constrained by Australia’s limited access to domestic soft plastic recycling, which can manage the “mixed polymer” soft plastics deposited by the public in supermarket collection bins.

At present, it would not be possible to recycle the volume of household soft plastics collected in a supermarket program using the domestic infrastructure.

Therefore, the taskforce has plotted the projected gradual increase in Australian soft plastic recycling capacity over the next year as new operators launch and existing processors expand.

A spokesperson for the taskforce has said: “The best way to accelerate nationwide access to soft plastic recycling is through continued investment in recycling facilities to bring forward existing plans to expand domestic capacity.”

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation estimates that less than 5% of consumer soft plastic was collected by the REDcycle program.

The spokesperson for the taskforce said: “We recognise that in the long-term, more soft plastic could be diverted from landfill if future schemes are more convenient for consumers.

“It is crucial that this opportunity to rethink Australia’s future national soft plastic recycling model is not overlooked.”

In another initiative, the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS) has outlined a new kerbside model to collect more household soft plastics.

It has been developed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council with funding support from the Australian Federal Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund.

The scheme is based on a model that would see food and grocery manufacturers pay a levy to support recycling the soft plastics they create. It is currently being trialled in select areas.

Last year, we have launched our range of sustainable lidding film solutions for the Australian market. The range is designed to help customers meet their commitments to the National Packaging Targets

To support the launch, we have also produced a “Sustainable Lidding Films – Australia” insight guide.

The guide provides an at-a-glance introduction to the sustainable products which fall within four sections, spanning across our existing comprehensive K-Peel, K-Seal, K-Foil, and K-Reseal lidding ranges and include:

  • In-store recyclable – Cold peelable combinations of PE and PPs, which are sealable to PET, PP and pulp/fibre trays. They are PREP tool approved for return-to-store recycling.
  • PCR – Cold peel and weld mono PET films containing a minimum of 30% post-consumer recyclate, suitable for sealing to PET, PP, and smoothwall aluminium trays.
  • Compostable – Peel and weld seal to PET and pulp/fibre trays. Certified home compostable to Australian AS-5810 standards.
  • Tethered – PET lidding film solutions ideal for tethering to rPET and aPET trays for kerbside recycling.

All of the structures – which are suitable for the fresh produce, protein, and ready meal sectors – can be used in top-seal lidding applications to form pre-made pouches and for flow wrap through FFS machines. The films can also be printed or perforated, depending on the need.

“We offer an extensive range of specialist lidding films, and flexible packaging to major and specialist food manufacturers in Australia,” said John Shipley, business unit director for Australia and Europe at KM Packaging.

“Our sustainable range is designed to help our customers achieve their National Packaging Targets, whether through in-store collection, home composting, 30 per cent PCR content, or kerbside recycling through tethering.”

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