This article was authored by Andy McCourt
Sally Capp, Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, received an ovation as she welcomed delegates to the recent Flexible Packaging & Label Manufacturers Association (FPLMA) Conference and Technical Forum at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
“Melbourne’s open again and from 25 February – no mandatory masks” she remarked. The first morning was heavily focussed on sustainability.
FPLMA president Vince Sedunary, in introducing Lord Mayor Sally Capp, said, “It’s good to see people’s smiles again.”
Following a surprise live link to the FTA (Flexographic Technical Association) in the US, the opening sessions were all surrounding sustainability and recycling, with two APCO (Australian Packaging Covenant Alliance) executives, Meredith Epp and Jayne Paramor also joining via Zoom on the giant screen.
Epp’s presentation focussed on integration of best practice and the National Plastics Plan 2019, which aims to “keep packaging out of landfill” by 2025.
Paramor followed up with collaboration between industry, government and community groups and a ‘sectorial approach’ gaining support from industry sectors such as wine, healthcare, horticulture and dairy.
The wine industry, for example, has the ‘WISPA’ program – Wine Industry Sustainable Packaging Alliance. Sustainable advances have been achieved by patient collaboration and action plans.
But this was not an all Zoom opening – it could be described as a hybrid FPLMA first day. It was mostly face-to-face with Sedunary and FPLMA secretary Tony Dalleore running the programme and chairing lively Q&A sessions.
Sustainability is definitely a major challenge facing the packaging industry going forward.
Austen Ramage – Group Manager of plastics life cycle management company Martogg LCM stepped up with an information-packed session on the circular economy and how to achieve it.
Some surprising facts came out of this, such as how easy it is to recycle Polypropylene products for example. He also touched on a future initiative called RCTS – Recycled Content Offset Trading; like carbon offset trading but with recyclables.
A full report will appear in the upcoming issue of PackPro.pro magazine and will cover all technical sessions.
Yes, Melbourne’s back in the events business and the vibe can be felt all over. Better still, packaging and print events are back, spearheaded by the FPLMA and precursing AusPack (May) and PacPrint with Visual Impact (June).