Key take-aways from the second masterclass of our Plastic Packaging Series

By Fiona Stephenson

On Tuesday 15 October, SBN hosted the second masterclass of our Plastic Packaging Series – Innovate – moving away from problematic plastics. A huge thanks to our partners New Zealand King Salmon, Ministry for Primary Industries and Foodstuffs NZ.

Thanks to those who are actively engaging in ensuring we can move to a New Plastics Economy by 2025. Collaboration across the packaging sectors is essential for this to happen.

There is no one silver bullet and it’s essential we engage in cross-sector co-ordinated collaboration if NZ is going to meet 2025 packaging commitments.

Key learnings for business on reducing problematic packaging starts:

– Starting with design, we must simplify. Reduce the complexity of plastics and fit with the most efficient collection/ recovery/ reuse systems.

– Be cautious! It can be tricky finding materials which are functionally suited to a product and have good end of life solutions.

– Be willing to trial new materials and systems.

– There are new materials coming. Exciting technologies/ materials are on the horizon and innovation needs to be supported (tested) by business to enable scale through NZ.

– Compostable materials still have many challenges – there are currently few scenarios where they are truly in closed loop systems.

– Biomaterials (not made from fossil fuels) have tremendous potential for Aotearoa. There are exciting drop-in solutions which uses renewable feedstocks to create recyclable plastics that fit within our current recycling system.

– Support legislation! We must support government investment into public education & infrastructure and critical legislation around product stewardship and take back schemes.

Our final masterclass  – Eliminate – Designing out problematic packaging and move towards reuse and other models – is coming up on 20 November. If your organisation would like to be involved, please email kate@sustainable.org.nz, tickets are limited!