Too much plastic waste ends up in landfill and in our region’s natural environments. In Australia, only 18 per cent of all plastic packaging is recycled for future use. In New Zealand, 41 per cent of plastic packaging is going to landfill when it could be recycled. And in the Pacific Islands, more than 300,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated each year.
By 2040, if we fail to act, the volume of plastic on the market will double, the annual volume of plastic entering the ocean will almost triple, and ocean plastic stocks will quadruple.
However, change is afoot. On 1 January 2021, the new ANZPAC Plastics Pact went live, signalling a new approach to how plastics are managed in the Oceania region.
The Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Island (ANZPAC) Plastics Pact is a collaborative solution that brings together key players in the region behind a shared vision of a circular economy for plastic, where plastic never becomes waste or pollution.
The programme is part of the Plastics Pact network, a global community working to deliver a common vision for the circular economy for plastics, together with more than 1000 organisations around the world.
It’s a community that’s united under the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network, a proven and effective model being rolled out across the world, in countries including the UK, the US, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Chile, and South Africa.
Plastic waste is an international challenge. Plastics Pacts address the transnational nature of the issues related to managing plastic by providing a consistent approach for global supply chains dealing with plastic waste travelling across our borders.
To develop the ANZPAC programme, the ANZPAC Plastics Pact Team spoke with over 300 individuals and organisations across the region, through workshops, groups and one-to-one meetings, to determine the plastic packaging problems that are most important to stakeholders in our region. The information gathered helped Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) identify the challenges and opportunities and uncovered three key needs: innovation, investment, and sharing knowledge.
ANZPAC Plastics Pact will unite a diverse range of stakeholders – including businesses, governments, and community groups – behind a shared vision for plastic. ANZPAC Plastics Pact members will commit to work to deliver national and regional Plastics Pact Targets and collaboratively develop a roadmap for how the region will reach them.
All activity will be measured, and progress tracked through public annual reporting. Members will also co-design and implement pioneer initiatives, activities and solutions across the region and share knowledge and experiences, and learn from regional, national and global experts.
To ensure the whole region has an active voice in shaping and governing ANZPAC, APCO will establish a senior steering committee of industry experts to oversee the programme. The Collective Action Group (CAG) is a team of leading industry, government and civil society representatives from across the supply chains in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Organisations will be invited to join the CAG in early 2021.
To join the ANZPAC Plastics Pact programme and lead our region’s transition to a circular economy for plastic, visit: anzpacplasticspact.org.au.