Is the wine industry on track to meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets?

Better choice of packaging and getting the right materials for recyclability, and government involvement result in various aspects of changing legislation when it comes to packaging, according to Australian Institute of Packaging education coordinator Ralph Moyle.

Speaking in a video presentation for the 2021 PACKWINE Forum, Moyle discussed what sustainable packaging looks like for the wine industry, including primary, secondary and tertiary packs.

“Packaging touches every part of the wine industry – whether you’re producing bottles, labels, or cartons. Likewise, in recycling, distribution, warehouse and dispatch and production,” he said.

“No matter which part of the wine industry you come from, you are part of this challenge. But, you’re also a key stakeholder in this value chain. You’ve all got a part to play.”

Moyle spoke about achieving ‘the Goldilocks spot’ as he presented some all-important guidance for wineries to make their packaging more sustainable as the deadline for Australia’s Packaging Targets looms.

According to Moyle, the key challenge for the industry is to get the balance of product versus packaging just right.

His recommendations for the challenge include:

  • Seeing past the initial commitment of time and the associated costs
  • Encouraging people in the business to take it upon themselves to drive sustainable packaging initiatives
  • Leveraging their engagement in packaging sustainability to strengthen the brand
  • Participating in industry groups, which will pay dividends in the long run
  • Using sustainable practices as promotional tools to save on production costs

“You need to understand the environmental impacts of all your products. The old three Ps of protect, preserve and promote the product will be supplemented by things such as trace, authenticate, inform, add value and secure and reduce waste,” he said.

“I hope you are considering re-thinking your packaging to ensure that it is more sustainable. This means you’re going to have to closely examine the choices you have made and see if they are still appropriate in today’s world.”

Moyle said this includes businesses having to rethink their processes, redesigning them, as well as finding ways in reducing, reusing and recycling materials used.  

Moyle also guided wine businesses through the 2025 National Packaging Targets and operators’ responsibilities to minimise their packaging wherever possible within their supply chain. He said the targets include achieving:

#1: 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging
#2: 70 per cent of plastic packaging being recycled or composted
#3: 50 per cent of average recycled content included in packaging (revised from 30 per cent in 2020)
#4: The phase out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics packaging

“Based off the 2018-19 result, we’re at 89 per cent for target one, 18 per cent for target two, 38 per cent for target three and at the foundation phase for target four. There is still work to be done,” he said.

In his presentation, Moyle also provided best practice examples of sustainable packaging and some tips that winemakers can implement into their business. This included the benefits of expanded polystyrene, the use of folded board inside a corrugated box, the use of space saving recycled, lightweight PET, and the use of the ‘frugal bottle’.

“Your priority list, and waste hierarchy, should now start from reducing waste, to reusing it, recycling it, the recovery of it, followed by the disposal of it. Audit what you are buying and selling as recycling should be considered the last line of defence, not the first,” he said.

“What should be the first consideration is reducing the need for that product or packaging in the first place to have a far more sustainable packaging format at a far more cost-effective price.”  

Another key consideration Moyle addressed is for businesses to know whether their packaging is recyclable in Australia, or the countries they export it to.

“Yes, the various states within Australia itself do it differently but it also is worthwhile knowing about the sustainability requirements in each of the countries you export to and whether you are compatible with them,” he added.

More information from Moyle’s presentation is available on-demand.

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