Qenos and Cleanaway investigate new food-grade plastic packaging


Cleanaway, a waste management company, and Qenos, a plastics manufacturer, will conduct a feasibility study into converting soft plastic waste and mixed plastics to feedstock, and create recycled polyethylene plastic for use in a new food-grade plastic packaging. 

If approved, the project will save 100,000 tonnes of household soft plastics from landfill each year and create vital new, closed-loop plastics recycling capacity here in Australia. 

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), who are currently developing the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), have welcomed the announcement as the most advanced recycling capability needed in a successful nationwide scheme. 

“This is an example of the collaboration and investment needed to create an effective and sustainable circular economy for plastic packaging in Australia,” AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said. 

“Plastic packaging has an important role – it keeps food safe and fresh, reduces food waste and helps keep products intact. The majority of that plastic is a valuable resource that can be recycled, and food and grocery manufacturers understand that it is critical that we maximise recycling to reduce the need for virgin plastics and avoid harmful effects on the environment.” 

The National Packaging Targets include a goal of recycling or composting 70 percent of plastic packaging by 2025. 

“Food and grocery manufacturers, the waste and recycling industry and plastics manufacturers are committing significant resources to meeting the challenge of addressing plastic waste and meeting the National Packaging Targets,” Barden said. 

The NPRS will be Australia’s first industry-led, national recycling scheme for soft plastic packaging. It aims to collect and recycle nearly 190,000 tonnes of soft plastic packaging per annum by 2025.  

The AFGC is developing the NPRS with funding support from the federal government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund. 

As an industry-led and funded scheme, the NPRS will coordinate the efforts of food and grocery companies to significantly increase the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging, helping to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets. By laying out a plan for plastics recycling from collection, through recycling and on to new end markets, the NPRS will help build a genuine circular economy for plastic packaging 


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