FGC established a Sustainability Committee in July 2019. It has four sub-committees to tackle all issues of sustainability as they relate to the food and grocery sector. It is chaired by Nestlé CEO Christian Abboud and has sustainability expert Lyn Mayes, of Mad World, as a special advisor.
The purpose of this sub-committee is to influence the FMCG community around best practices for plastic packaging and to stimulate and deliver positive change to achieve circular economy principles. Its goal is that FGC members conduct all required work to maximise positive changes being made away from the use of the most damaging plastic types. Its focus is on used plastic, noting the Government’s plans to address more difficult-to-recycle plastics, including PVC and Polystyrene; plastic recycling – how industry can support improved recovery of plastics; reduce amount of virgin plastic by increasing use of recycled content. The Chair is Cameron Scott, Kimberly-Clark NZ.
There is no officially adopted standard for compostable products in NZ for commercial composting or home composting. Many products are certified to the associated European, Australian or American standards but there is no official standard or label for companies to achieve/use on their products. This sub-committee supports the adoption of an existing international standard and their preference would be for adoption of the ISO standard. All international standards are derived from the ISO 18606 standard. The sub-committee prefers adoption of the Australian standard, which includes the worm toxicity test, marketability test, and the heavy metals test over and above the ISO standard. Work programme includes: addressing lack of NZ standard; education for FGC members about compostable products; working with retail partners. The Chair is Damian Wright, Clorox.
Compostable Products Update (December 2020)
FGC has advised members to not introduce compostable plastic packaging and products for now, and has identified the pathway towards a solution. In summary there are three current scenarios:
- Compostable products collected in a closed-loop, or specific items can be taken to a commercial compost facility
- Commercially compostable products sold at retail outlets to be consumed at home go to landfill, as do home compostable products if there is no home compost bin
- Home compostable plastic products can be composted at home but take up to 12 months to biodegrade.
If compostable products consumed at home are to be composted in future, there needs to be investment in a kerbside collection system for clearly identified compostable plastic. There is no real solution for home compostable products at scale in most home compost environments. FGC is continuing to work with the Government on this.
Beverage Container (Container Recovery Scheme)
This sub-committee has the following objectives: establish a fact set of data on beverage containers used by FGC members; represent FGC and its members in the design of a CDS for NZ; formulate a position on behalf of industry to minimise the cost of running a scheme while maximising the recovery and recycling of containers which is as close to a circular economy as possible; draft position for FGC which has broad alignment around what is included in the scheme and how it is operated; seek input from FGC membership and ensure members are engaged in the process. This Chair is Corey Slieker, Coca-Cola Amatil.
Some 480,000 tonnes of fibre is collected annually across New Zealand, around 50% of which is recycled here. The remainder has been exported but overseas demand has reduced considerably for mixed papers. Fibre processing is at full capacity and it will take significant capital investment to increase onshore capacity. Consumption of paper is also increasing as brands seek alternatives to plastic. This project sets out to identify the grades of paper being used by members and to seek to reduce the gap between imported fibre and the use of recovered fibre. The Chair is Kevin Michell, Detpak.