Under the current definitions and perspectives of groups like APCO and ANZPAC, unnecessary single use packaging items must only be reported on if they are sold as part of something- a ready to eat salad with a single-use plastic fork, a juice box with a single use plastic straw – but not when they are sold as “products”. Single-use cups sold as a product are not considered reportable but when talking about the transition to reuse, suddenly KeepCup is considered a reusable package.
It’s important also to unpack what is meant by "recycled." When we think of recycling, most of us are thinking about post-consumer waste - products recovered from household bins.
What we can’t allow is for definitions to include the commercial waste of products that have not passed QC on the production line. Reusing manufacturing waste is not recycling, it’s simply efficient manufacturing - utilising factory waste and saving costs by feeding it back into production or sending it out to a reprocessor for pelletising.
The most effective way around this sort of practice is to set post-consumer waste volume targets by material, that way we are innovating around a common purpose, rather than accepting industry manufacture waste.
When we talk about circular economy, it’s not about recycling or composting. It's about designing out waste from products and services to reverse the reality of our linear/landfill based global economy through, reduction, reuse and repair.
We cannot transform our society and make the necessary changes by pulling punches. A step in the right direction is great – but it’s time for a bold leap. Hit them hard and we’ll be right behind you.