In 2007, the FRDC published the final report from project 2004-410 Reducing plastics in the Australian seafood industry: Phase 1 desktop feasibility study. The report notes that a major challenge in undertaking the study was the lack of baseline data to support plastic usage trends in Australian and international seafood industries. It had been assumed that the cost of purchasing plastics, and in particular, packaging, represented a material cost of production. Most stakeholders, however, could only provide rough guesses at the volumes consumed and total costs incurred.
An audit is needed to understand the volumes and types of plastics used by the Australian seafood industry, and waste management/reduction strategies including alternative materials.
While there are many examples within the Australian seafood industry of voluntary measures to reduce plastic use, baseline data is needed to determine where to focus reduction efforts, to establish targets, to track improvements, and to support benchmarking within the Australian industry and beyond, including international. Importantly, an audit can support business and industry decisions on practice change by contributing to information that allows comparison of material costs of current plastic use with alternatives.
A staged and detailed approach to designing, developing, and executing the audit and survey will be fundamental to gathering data on plastic use and volumes across Australia’s seafood sectors (production/harvest and post-harvest).
This project will assist the industry to develop a strategic approach to moving forward with respect to plastics usage.