The National Plastics Summit was held in Canberra on 2 March 2020.
Over 200 senior representatives from government, industry and community sectors attended. The Summit showcased and identified new solutions to the plastic waste challenge. It aimed to mobilise further action from governments, industry and non-government organisations. The Summit also identified new opportunities to directly address targets under the National Waste Policy Action Plan.
Ideas and solutions generated at the National Plastics Summit informed the National Plastics Plan 2021.
Members of the industry made several key announcements at the Summit:
- The Pact Group pledged to invest $500 million in facilities, research and technology to use more sustainable packaging. Pact said it would have 30% recycled content across its product portfolio by 2025 and keep nearly two billion plastic containers out of landfill.
- McDonald’s pledged to phase out plastic cutlery by the end of 2020, preventing 585 tonnes of plastic waste each year. The company had already committed to phasing out 500 million straws every year.
- Nestlé announced it would partner with waste management company IQ Renew in a soft plastics recycling trial. It aimed to collect soft plastics from over 100,000 homes and divert about 750 tonnes from landfill.
Find out more about the pledges
- National Plastics Summit 2020 Pledges (PDF - 129 KB)
- National Plastics Summit 2020 Pledges (DOCX - 125 KB)
A group of school students in years 5 and 6 from around Australia also participated in the Summit. Two student representatives attended from each state and territory. They were selected on the basis of their waste and recycling knowledge via a merit process with assistance from Scouts Australia.
The students attended the opening of the Summit at Parliament House and the ‘Student Summit’ at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) at Old Parliament House. They heard from industry experts and created handmade pledges to reduce their own soft plastics use.
The Student Summit also involved learning about more ways to use fewer single-use plastic items, and a visit from Their Excellencies the Governor-General, David Hurley, and Mrs Linda Hurley.
Views from the public
Members of the public nominated their key concerns and ideas for the National Plastic Summit to consider in a short survey before the event.
The word cloud below summarises their submissions and was presented at the Summit.