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The Australian packaging industry has decided to cut down its recycling targets.

This move was triggered by a recent internal review that showed the import of plastics to be far higher than expected. This caused waste reuse to fall shorter of predetermined targets.

It’s interesting to note that the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), along with the federal and state governments, had set target of recycling 70% of all used packaging over the 5 year plan till June 30, 2015.

However, a leaked excerpt of a report suggests that the industry would be unable to meet the recycling target.

Therefore, it has requested the council to drop this target.

One of the main reasons of the packaging industry’s failure to meet the recycling target is its miscalculation of the amount of plastic imported to Australia. It has been observed that this miscalculation has also caused underestimation of the consumption of plastics by around 50% in the year 2013-14.

Jeff Angel, Boomerang Alliance’s convenor, said that in the last financial year, plastic consumption was around 527,000 tonnes, while the recycling rate was just 44% compared to the set target of 70%.

What’s the Future of the Australian Packaging Industry?

Mr. Angel also said that the growing problem of plastic pollution, to a large extent, is the failure to recycle packaging. He said it’s time for the government to intervene.

Taking a cue from Mr. Angel, Stan Moore – Chief Executive of APC says that dropping the target of 70% won’t be a very good idea as it would be an admission of defeat.

Environmentalists say that the packaging manufacturers should understand that plastics are a major concern for the environment.

Millions of plastics are entering water bodies and land every year, resulting in the death of many marine animals along with the birds.

No wonder that some green activists demand a ban on single-use light-weight plastic shopping bags to protect the environment and reduce plastic consumption.

There’s a growing demand on the packaging industry too to focus on the use of natural resources to bring down wastes and encourage recycling.

Only time will tell if the packaging industry focuses on more meaningful waste reduction activities to combat Australia’s growing waste problems.

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