The Packaging Forum 2020-2021 annual report

Our 2020-2021 annual report, which looks at the Forum’s performance, activities and plans for the future, is now available to read.
18 August 2021

The report also looks at the work of our two accredited product stewardship schemes for container glass, and soft plastic as well as our technical advisory groups, advocacy work, collaborations and more.

Read the report

Kaitāia Market waste gets a second life

A grant from The Packaging Forum has helped the Far North Environment Centre greatly reduce the volume of compostable and recyclable material from the Kaitāia Market going to landfill.
10 August 2021

The Centre has used their recent grant of $9,500 to provide bins for food waste, compostable packaging and recyclables at the market since the beginning of July.

The Centre’s Plastic Free Kaitāia Co-ordinator Waikarere Gregory says they began the project to coincide with Plastic Free July and collected two 60l bags of compostable material at one market alone, despite the poor weather. Previously only a general rubbish bin was available.

“It’s been a great success, reducing waste in the council landfill bins by up to 75% each week,” she says.

The compostable material collected from the market goes towards creating compost by KaitāiaCycle a collaboration with Good Life Projects (which works with youth and adults with intellectual disabilities to create bountiful gardens), CBEC Ecosolutions and Earthcare, Waikarere says.

The Centre identified the need for bins after running a trial at the market and found a strong zero-waste contingent, with most stalls using compostable or recyclable packaging. The trial also found many members of the public were keen to reduce waste to landfill, but a lack of bins meant compostable or recyclable material was going in general rubbish bins, she says.

“We’re also going to work with stallholders to help them move toward better packaging options that can be either recycled or composted, and ideally work towards a reusable system.”

The Centre took a zero-waste approach to the entire operation with the reusable bin liners sewn by local group Anō Anō Clothing Rescue, from old shower curtains, flags and material, Waikarere says.

She also uses an e-bike and trailer, on some days, to transport some of their gear to and from the market.

“We are currently looking for someone to employ to oversee the bins, but in the meantime are managing a roster system with our current contractors,” she says.

The Packaging Forum CEO Rob Langford says the Forum also supplied the Centre with a bin stand and signage from the Litter Less Recycling More project it was involved with to help make the bins more visible and prevent them toppling in high winds.

“We thought this was a great project because it not only keeps recyclable and compostable material out of landfill but helps with educating the public around putting waste in the right bins and not just choosing landfill as the default option,” he says.

First public recycling bins for Upper Hutt parks

Public recycling bins have made their first appearance in an Upper Hutt park thanks to help from The Packaging Forum.

25 June 2021

Maidstone Max – Tō Tātou Papa Tākaro, which was recently redeveloped by the Upper Hutt City Council, has been kitted out with four colour-coded public place recycling and rubbish bins. This, thanks in part to a $5,400 grant from the Forum.

Council Waste Minimisation Officer Richard Schouten says the bins take glass, mixed recycling and general waste. “Maidstone Max – Tō Tātou Papa Tākaro is Upper Hutt’s premier adventure play space, and is a great example of putting a waste minimisation lens across a large public infrastructure project.

“These recycling bins are a first for an Upper Hutt public park and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. The young people in our community are in tune with sustainability and waste minimisation and it’s been exciting to see them embrace the new recycling bins in their shared social spaces.”

Richard says the bins’ standardised colours make it easy for the public to use them correctly. These bins are seen across many other districts throughout the country, so the public instantly recognise what they are.”

The packaging Forum CEO Rob Langford says the colour-coded bins were originally designed as part of the Litter Less Recycle More project, but are available through the Forum’s bin partner Tilley Bins to anyone wanting to install the well-recognised system. There are now over 160 sets of these bins in 18 regions, he says.

“We are thrilled to have the bins we designed as the first in a park in Upper Hutt,” Rob says. “They were designed to make recycling easy and we’ve found that they work very well.”

The park was reopened at the end of a nine-month redevelopment which included a remodelled playground, wheelchair access, state-of-the-art skate park, pump track and half basketball court among its features and attractions.

Grants help clean up NZ’s act

The Packaging Forum’s recent grant funding round called on applications for projects which would tackle litter reduction in New Zealand. It attracted some excellent applications, with four projects being awarded a total of $29,500 in funding.

2 June 2021

Trailer to help keep it green and clean

Promoting litter reduction and encouraging reuse over single-use goes hand-in-hand, with Envirohub Marlborough’s washable service ware trailer hitting both marks.

The organisation was awarded a $10,000 grant to upgrade their equipment with a wash trailer for washable, reusable service ware at public events in and round Picton.

The Envirohub, which works with the local community to enhance sustainability practices in and around the town, currently offers the washable service with makeshift equipment. However, the lack of infrastructure meant it was not streamlined.

A trailer will not only greatly improve the efficiency of the service but provide opportunity for increased awareness and public engagement.

Keeping compostables, recyclables out of landfill

The Te Pokapu Tiaki Taiao o Te Tai Tokerau Trust (Far North Environment Centre), based in Kaitaia, applied for funding to help with a project which will divert compostable and recyclable material from landfill at the local market.

The Centre’s recent recycling bin trial at the markets found a strong zero-waste contingent, with most stalls using compostable or recyclable packaging. It also found many members of the public were keen to reduce waste to landfill. However, a lack of infrastructure meant compostable or recyclable material was going to landfill.

A grant of $9,520 from The Packaging Forum will fund recycling and compost bins as well as a paid staff member at the market to educate the public for six months.

The Trust and its environment centre are central to a growing network of Northlanders working to improve their environmental impact.

Punching a hole in the cardboard problem

Sustainability Trust in Wellington has developed a simple but innovative local use for post-consumer cardboard by turning it into packing material or a compost additive.

The Forum awarded a grant of $5,000 for the Wellington-based Trust to commission a cardboard perforator. The result of the perforating process is a recyclable material which can be used to package breakable items sold by the Trust’s EcoShop, as well as an additive for the community compost hub.

The commercial viability of recycled cardboard has suffered as a result of China’s National Sword and similar overseas policies, with the Forum welcoming projects for alternative, local uses.

The Trust’s mission is to create warm, dry, healthy homes and help reduce people’s impact on the environment.

Project to wash away single-use service ware

Public events can create a large amount of single-use waste from service ware, with Res.Awesome in Dunedin having initiated a project which will see a portable wash station rolled out for reusable service ware.

The Forum awarded $5,000 to the project, which will not only reduce since-use service ware waste at events, but influence public behaviour change in terms of reuse over single-use.

The service will provide vendors with reusable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery to serve patrons. These can then be returned to a central wash truck where patrons can clean their service ware before it is sanitised.

Res.Awesome works towards creative, connected and innovative resource recovery in Dunedin City. They work to support businesses, schools and communities to reduce their waste through workshops, waste auditing, and zero waste management as well as creating a Dunedin Resource Recovery database.

We are pleased to let you know that fees for The Packaging Forum remain the same for the financial year beginnging 1 April 2021, and will be invoiced in early April.

26 February 2021

As in the previous year, Forum membership is a prerequisite to stewarding your packaging through our product stewardship schemes.

Your fee level is determined by the volume of packaging you sell in the New Zealand market, the range of your packaging types and complexity of materials.

Some of the main benefits of membership are:

  • Have a voice with government through relationships we hold with elected representatives and ministry officials
  • Contribute to relevant submissions to government – we anticipate several this year
  • Access events and information, collaborate with other members to develop your sustainability capability
  • Improve sustainability outcomes by joining our Glass Packaging Forum or Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme
  • Be seen as a sustainability champion
  • Have input into current and future initiatives such as our Technical Advisory Groups

Your fees also cover governance, administration and Packaging Forum marketing, communications, and member engagement.

Our work for the coming year
Pledge 2025

Our work programme is based around Pledge 2025, working towards all packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Technical advisory groups

Our technical advisory groups continue their work towards overcoming challenges in packaging sustainability.

Plastic packaging regulated product stewardship

Represent members and work with other stakeholders on the design of a regulated product stewardship scheme for single-use plastic packaging, as now required by priority product regulation under the WMA 2008.

Regulated stewardship for container glass

Next steps in developing an EPR model for container glass as an alternative to a CRS. It will aim to deliver better outcomes than a CRS with lower costs for consumers and industry, and less risk.

Government advocacy

Participate in consultations, maintain relationships and have regular meetings with MfE officials and elected government representatives to communicate our members’ on policies pertaining to packaging sustainability. The following will impact the packaging industry.

  • Review of the Waste Management Act and Litter Act
  • Development of a new national waste strategy
  • Draft of a plastic action plan
  • Recycling/processing infrastructure stocktake and gap analysis
  • Emissions reduction (focus on food waste)
  • Report due on fibre recycling
  • Next steps of standardisation of kerbside collections recommendations
Our product stewardship schemes

Our Glass Forum members proudly contribute to steward their materials towards a glass recovery target of more than 80%, notwithstanding development of a proposed regulated scheme.

Our Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme continues to grow in membership, allowing the scheme to expand its capacity and geographical reach.

Interested? Join us

MEDIA RELEASE: A recent survey of compostable packaging stakeholders by The Packaging Forum shows that between them they have completed over 100 compostable packaging projects in the last five years, with another 81 in progress and 85 more planned.

3 February 2021

Yet there has been little progress made on developing a viable end-of-life solution for compostable packaging at the scale New Zealand requires. This according to Kim Renshaw of Beyond the Bin, who is project manager for The Packaging Forum’s Compostable Technical Advisory Group (CTAG).

What’s needed for progress to happen, she says, is clear in the top six requirements identified by stakeholders:

  • Nationally available collections infrastructure
  • A labelling system
  • Increased processing infrastructure
  • An official New Zealand standard for compostability of packaging
  • Funding
  • Networking (knowledge sharing)

The CTAG is taking a collaborative approach in laying the groundwork for these to be developed and funded, she says.

“The next step is to gain an understanding of the volume of compostable packaging in the New Zealand market, and to clarify what level of investment and infrastructure is needed.”

As there is no existing data on this, the CTAG’s next survey will be asking manufacturers and importers to supply data to inform that understanding. Data will be aggregated to protect commercial sensitivity, Kim says.

“As public opinion has turned against plastics, many importers, manufacturers and brands have turned to compostable packaging as a promising solution. However, all packaging types need to end up in the right system at the end of their life to avoid causing unintended harm.”

“We’re working to overcome some complex problems such as the risk of contamination of compostable packaging with other materials, the ratios of compostable packaging that can be accepted by composters compared to other compostable material, what collection infrastructure could look like and how it could be funded,” she says.

The Forum recognises how important it is to overcome challenges and get systems in place for an increasingly popular packaging choice and will be working with all stakeholders to achieve this.

Ultimately the purpose of this work is to support Government in developing the right regulations for compostable packaging in New Zealand, ensuring the solution provides the best outcome for consumers and the environment, Kim says.

The Forum is inviting the following stakeholders to register to participate in a work programme and receive information:

  • Manufacturers and importer of compostable packaging
  • Brands and retailers who sell goods in compostable packaging
  • Composting collectors and processors
  • Brands considering switching to compostable packaging

To register as a stakeholder and keep up to date with progress, get in touch with The Packaging Forum here.

Packaging Forum litter reduction project funding up for grabs

The country’s biggest packaging industry organisation is offering funding for projects which aim to reduce litter in New Zealand.

1 February 2021

The Packaging Forum opened its first grant funding application round of 2021 today (1 February), to run for the month. Councils, recyclers, community groups and other organisations which have projects aimed at litter reduction are encouraged to apply for up to $10,000.

The Forum’s CEO Rob Lanford says the grants are funded through voluntary levies paid by members. “The Packaging Forum and our members are dedicated to reducing packaging waste in New Zealand, and this is just one of the ways we achieve this.”

The Forum has helped fund a number of litter reduction projects in the past, such as public place recycling and rubbish bins at health centres, sports clubs and tourist attractions, he says.

“We also have a Recycling and Litter Advisory Group which works to increase access to public place recycling and change public behaviour in regard to recycling and litter,” Rob says.

This group partners with data collectors to better understand the litter problem and allocates funding for projects which increase access to public place recycling and rubbish facilities. It also funds education and behaviour change projects, and works with partners to help get the right messages to the right people, Rob says.

Those interested in applying for a grant for their litter reduction project, or wanting to find out more, are encouraged to visit grants page.

The Packaging Forum’s Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme recognised as approved alternative destination under the ARL Program.

22 December 2020

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and The Packaging Forum are pleased to announce a new trans-Tasman partnership to ensure more soft plastics are collected, recycled and stay out of landfill.

The new partnership will see the Packaging Forum’s Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme recognised as an approved Alternative Destination under APCO’s Australasian Recycling Label Program. To be approved as an Alternative Destination, programs must meet a set of criteria to confirm the accessibility, recycling outcomes and scope of the program.

The partnership will mean businesses distributing soft plastic packaging in the New Zealand market no longer have to label their soft plastics as Not Recyclable. The new partnership will help businesses to provide accurate and clear recycling information to the customers and help consumers to correctly recycle their soft plastic packaging.

The ‘Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme’ is membership-based program that provides retail collection points across Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Northland, Taranaki, Waikato and Wellington to collect and recycle a range of soft plastic products, including bread bags, produce and frozen food bags, courier backs, bubble wrap and cereal bags.

The materials are processed onshore by North Island plants, Future Post and Second Life Plastics into durable plastic products including posts, parking stops, cable covers and garden edging.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO, APCO commented: “Research consistently shows that soft plastics are one of the most problematic contaminants in the waste stream and are an issue we have to get right in order to improve recovery rates for the region. We are delighted to officially partner with The Packaging Forum’s Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme to provide our ARL Program Members with an approved, reliable end of life solution for their soft plastics.

“We encourage all businesses selling consumer soft plastic packaging in New Zealand to join the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme and provide an evidence-based recovery option on the packaging you place on market.”

Lyn Mayes, Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme Manager, commented: “We have close to 100 scheme members, many of which operate trans-Tasman and this partnership with APCO will allow them to adopt consistent labelling for their soft plastic packaging in both countries. The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme is 100% funded by members.”

Margaret Stuart, Head of Corporate and External Relations, Nestlé Oceania commented: “It’s critical we have clear on-pack communications that helps people know which bin to put the pack in. With so many businesses in New Zealand and Australia making products for sale in both countries, this partnership will help keep our on-pack messaging simple and clear, so people understand how to recycle their soft plastics.”

Mick Anderson, Group Sustainability Manager, Goodman Fielder commented: “As a foundation partner of the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme in New Zealand and REDcycle (the sister program in Australia) we are passionate about improving recycling rates of soft plastic packaging. Building consumer awareness through consistent on-pack labelling is an important part of achieving our vision of a circular economy for plastic. We have adopted the ARL and REDcycle logo on packaging in Australia and look forward to rolling out across our NZ loaf bread range, including Nature’s Fresh and Freya’s, in early 2021.”

For more information about the Packaging Forum’s Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme visit the Soft Plastic Recycling website.

For more information about the ARL Program visit the APCO website.

Read about the highlights of our work in 20220

15 December 2020

  • The Public Place Recycling Scheme (PPRS) submits its annual report to MfE.
  • The GPF awards seven grants through its contestable fund.
  • The SPRS resumes collections following lockdown.
  • The Container Return Scheme Working Group concludes and submits it report to Government. The Packaging Forum, represented on the working group by Rob Langford, voices its concerns as part of a minority report.
  • The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme returned 15 Auckland Countdown stores to its collection network.
  • Eight grants are awarded through our GPF contestable fund.
  • The Packaging Forum holds a member-only briefing on the proposed Container Return Scheme (CRS) and our alternative Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) model.
  • Submissions made on members behalf regarding proposed phase out of hard-to-recycle and some single-use plastic items.
  • The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme celebrates its five year anniversary.

Submissions have been made on behalf of members regarding the Government’s proposed plastic phase out proposals.

7 December 2020

The Packaging Forum, and its Soft Plastic Recycling scheme, have both made submissions largely in favour of the intent behind the Government’s proposed phase-out of hard to recycle plastics and some single-use plastic items.

However both are concerned about the phase out overlapping work being done on product stewardship, as required by this year’s declaration of all single-use plastic packaging as a priority product. There is also concern expressed about whether the timeframes are achievable. Both submissions support the government’s acknowledgement that some use-cases will require exemptions and want the process around exemptions to be very clear.

Public engagement

In a bid to engage the public, the consultation document was condensed down from 74 pages to an eight-page summary with an accompanying video. People were invited to submit by completing a short survey on the Citizen Space platform.

Ministry for the Environment Deputy Secretary Sam Buckle says more than 5,000 submissions had been received by 1 December, with the consultation closing on 4 December.

Businesses and industry organisations like The Packaging Forum were encouraged to make more detailed submissions based on the longer consultation document, which contained more background and nuance.

The Packaging Forum and Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme responses were formulated by consulting with members via a survey, online meetings and member meetings.

While the Forum’s membership is largely supportive of the proposals, it cautions against the creation of unintended negative consequences and advises a holistic approach be adopted:

  • Any phase-out must go together with the development of recycling and end of life infrastructure for alternative materials.
  • When identifying materials and/or items for phase-outs it’s important to include full lifecycle analysis of all packaging items (and possible alternatives) as well as food safety aspects.
  • Care must be taken to avoid unintended consequences through a largescale move to alternative packaging materials without standards, labelling and end-of-life solutions being in place.
  • Alternative materials, such as compostable and fibre (paper and cardboard) packaging have challenges. These include a lack of a New Zealand standard and currently limited recycling or reuse options.
  • Where packaging is already managed through kerbside or industry led recycling schemes such as the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme, there is no need for a ban.

The Forum also raised concerns around five issues:

  • A full cost benefit analysis which follows Treasury guidelines is required to asses impact on business, food safety, shelf life and cool-chain (particularly for export items).
  • The proposal overlaps with work by industry following the declaration of single-use plastic packaging as a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 – requiring regulated product stewardship solutions.
  • A lack of alignment with other work, such as the standardisation of kerbside collections.
  • More detail is needed for exceptions, such as packaging which maintains the integrity of contents. This is particularly relevant for export items.
  • The Forum notes this consultation calls the phase-out a starting point. More certainty is needed on any further phase-outs if business is to invest in replacement technology and processes with a long-term return.

Read The Packaging Forum submission

Read the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme submission