PKN talks with Richard Smith from Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific on solving the flexible packaging paradox, and the Holy Grail 2.0 project.

In this episode, Lindy Hughson, managing editor and publisher of PKN Packaging News, talks with Richard Smith, director of sustainability at Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific about the flexible packaging paradox and the Holy Grail 2.0 project.

We start by discussing the dilemma that flexible packaging is so successful due to its numerous sustainable advantages, yet these very properties make it hard to recover, and also, low value in the recovery stream. We then move on to the progress being made to improve the recovery of flexible packaging material, including work by RedGroup/RedCycle and Replas, and the latest developments in kerbside recovery of flexible packaging.

Smith covers four key areas required to improve the circular life cycle for flexible packaging, which include the use of common materials that are optimised for recycling to support critical mass at collectors, consumer engagement, kerbside collection, and advanced chemical recycling to ensure the recycled materials can be product safe when reused. The big picture view of the circular life cycle requires policies that will support bringing recycling in-country which, in turn, will create new jobs, income and opportunities.

We then move on to discussing the Holy Grail 2.0 project and its goal of improving recycling through the use of digital watermarks. Smith explains how the watermarks would work, the project's achievements to date, and Amcor’s involvement with the project.

Given Smith's role as a director on the board of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), we wrap up the discussion by covering the economic opportunities associated with meeting the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

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