ANZPAC Plastics Pact to tackle plastic waste in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has today announced at the Federal Government’s National Plastics Summit in Canberra that APCO will lead the development of the ANZPAC Plastic Pact, the latest to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Post Network.

The ANZPAC Plastics Pact, which will formally launch to the public in late 2020, will work with businesses, governments and NGOs from across the plastics value chain in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island nations to develop a common vision of the circular economy for plastics.

With just 16% of plastic packaging currently being recycled in Australia, ANZPAC will provide the significant intervention required to meet Australia’s national plastic packaging target that 70% of all plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025.

Aligned with the other initiatives of the Plastics Pact network, the ANZPAC Plastics Pact will work towards a set of ambitious, time-bound targets in the following areas:

  • Eliminate unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging through redesign and innovation
  • Ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  • Increase the reuse, collection, and recycling of plastic packaging
  • Increase recycled content in plastic packaging.

The exact targets will be released towards the end of 2020, and progress will be reported annually.

At the Plastics Summit, APCO was joined by representatives from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and the Australian Food and Grocery Council, to officially invite industry and government to participate in the program.

In 2020 APCO will be developing the program in close consultation with local industry representatives in all regions. Initiatives will include a series of plastics-focused projects, and the creation of the Circular Plastics Research Initiative, a new innovation hub that will bring together researchers, investors and industry to share knowledge and align efforts.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans welcomed APCO’s commitment to reviewing existing plastic packaging targets, in light of the national waste targets agreed by the nation’s environment Ministers: “The Government welcomes industry led approaches which are fundamental to bringing about better recycling outcomes, and looks forward to actions that will significantly increase recycled plastic content beyond current levels.”

Brooke Donnelly, CEO of APCO said: “It was fantastic to meet today with key stakeholders from government and industry at the Plastics Summit to explore what tangible solutions are needed to address the plastics crisis. We commend the government for leading this approach and providing the ideal platform for us to unveil the new, industry-led ANZPAC initiative.

“Plastic is a global supply chain problem and that means to manage it effectively, Australia needs an international approach. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Plastic Pact network is a proven, effective model being rolled out across the world, and I’m very pleased that APCO Members and key stakeholders will be leading the delivery of this program for our region.

“We are wasting no time and will be kicking off the industry action at a workshop in Sydney tomorrow to start developing targets and priority projects.”

Industry from across the value chain has already shown strong engagement with the program, with companies including Woolworths, Australia Post, Unilever, Mars, Nestlé Oceania, Pact, CHEP, Amcor, Kmart Australia, Officeworks, Detmold Group, Veolia, SUEZ, Fonterra and Mondelēz International confirming their support for a common approach such as the ANZPAC program. The Australian Food and Grocery Council and Planet Ark Environmental Foundation are also strongly supporting the new program’s development.

“The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is collaborating to develop whole-of supply chain solutions so our sector can meet the National Packaging Targets to benefit the community and the environment,” said DGeoffrey Annison, AFGC Acting CEO commented:

“We are proud to be supporting the development of the new ANZPAC program, alongside the ongoing work of APCO and the vital role the organisation is playing in developing a circular economy for packaging and increasing recycling rates across our region.”

“Addressing the challenges relating to plastic packaging requires collaboration across all sectors, and the approach outlined by APCO provides the mechanism to facilitate the systems level change that is needed. We look forward to seeing what can be achieved as this progresses,” said head of sustainable development at Officeworks, Ryan Swenson.

“We welcome the announcement of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact and look forward to working together with the governments and industry of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to drive real change towards a circular economy for plastic, by eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovating to ensure that the plastics they do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating the plastic items they use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment. Together we can create a world without plastic waste or pollution,” said new plastics economy lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Sander Defruyt.

“WRAP is delighted to see APCO announce plans for an ANZPAC. The UK Plastics Pact has been very successful in transforming the plastics landscape in the UK. WRAP, who developed the UK Plastics Pact in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, have been involved in supporting a number of Plastics Pacts around the world as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network. This has the power to completely transform how we produce, use and dispose of plastics,” said David Rogers, head of international resource management, WRAP UK.

Steel belts for chocolate manufacturing solutions

Cooling and forming are critical stages in the production of both chocolate and confectionery, and few companies have more experience in these areas than Melbourne-based IPCO.

As an independent company owned by FAM AB, and part of the Swedish-based Wallenberg group, IPCO is a globally active engineering company with sales and service offices in more than 35 countries. As a business its connection with the food industry stretches back almost a century, when its steel belts were first used in bake ovens.

Milestones since then include their use for cooling chocolate drops at an American confectionery company in the 1930s, for ice-cream freezing (1959) and for chocolate conveying (1960). Today, IPCO steel belts are used in applications ranging from simple conveying to continuous processes such as cooling/solidification, conditioning, casting, freezing and finishing.

In parallel with this, IPCO has developed its own forming systems including the Rotoform FD – a food-grade pastillation system used to turn molten product, such as chocolate, fruit-flavoured jelly, gum base, fats and other additives, into solid, consistently sized pastilles.

Processing solution for industrial and decorative chocolate
This expertise in pastillation in general, and chocolate in particular, has seen the company create a specialist division focussed on chocolate processing.

With its own production facilities in Breda, The Netherlands, this division produces versatile forming systems for both industrial (chunks, chips and blocks) and decorative (rolls, shavings, blossoms etc.) chocolate products. These systems are designed to maximise productivity while also ensuring a premium quality end product.

The company has developed a portfolio that includes depositors, extruders, cutters and decorative forming systems, as well as high-performance, steel-belt conveyors and economical plastic belt systems. By combining these different elements, IPCO can offer process lines suitable for everything from low-cost, rapid-deployment start-ups to high-performance, multi-layer systems.

Rotoform rotary depositing chip production
At the heart of every IPCO high-speed, high-capacity chocolate forming system is the Rotoform rotary depositor, a unit first developed for the chemical industry but subsequently adapted for food processing. More than 2,000 Rotoform depositors are now used around the world.

The Rotoform itself consists of a heated cylindrical stator and perforated rotating shell that turns concentrically around the stator. Chocolate drops are deposited across the whole operating width of a continuously running cooling belt. The outer depositor shell can be replaced to enable the production of chips of a different size, with a changeover in less than 30 minutes.

The circumferential speed of the Rotoform is synchronised with the speed of the belt so drops are deposited without deformation. The heat of the drops is transferred to cooling air blown onto the product and also to the belt itself.

The most recent addition to this range is the Rotoform HP, a high-performance system offering a range of advantages including increased productivity, reduced maintenance and the ability to handle higher viscosity products. Reliable, versatile and easy to use, the Rotoform HP is available on all IPCO chocolate production lines, or as a retrofit replacement for piston depositors.

Suitable for the production of chips from 250-35,000 pcs/kg, this versatile module delivers a consistently sized product at depositing speeds of up to 40 m/min. Available in 800mm, 1,200mm and 1,500mm widths, the Rotoform HP can process viscosities up to 25,000 mPas.

Single- and triple-pass cooling lines
IPCO produces a range of cooling systems to meet different throughput requirements. Single-pass, end-to-end cooling lines are designed for low-to-medium capacity requirements from 200-2,000 kg/hr.

These affordable systems can incorporate a gear or rotary depositor for chip production and/or extruder and servo cutter for chunks. IPCO triple-pass cooling systems enable high throughput rates while minimising floor space requirements. The product is deposited on the first belt and adheres to the underside for the second pass. It is then removed on to a second conveyor for a third pass.

IPCO steel belts for confectionery processing
As well as producing complete process systems, IPCO is also a manufacturer of steel belts, supplying third-party machine builders (OEMs) throughout the food industry in general, and the confectionery industry in particular.

Steel belts are a versatile conveying medium. They are available in solid or perforated form and can be manufactured to virtually any length and, at IPCO’s manufacturing plant in Sweden, to widths from 25-9,000mm.

Steel belts offer a unique range of thermal properties, being capable of operating in temperatures from minus 80°C to +750°C. Cooling is an area in which IPCO has end-to-end process expertise, working with machine manufacturers to ensure optimum productivity and return on investment.

These systems are used for cooling and solidifying, with applications including chocolate, sugar mass, caramel, gelatine, hard-melt candy, nougat, nut brittle and more.

Steel belts are also used in zoned conditioning systems; slab and bar casting applications (e.g. caramel and sugar mass); freezer lines; drying units; chocolate melt reclamation; and in finishing operations (e.g. cutting, folding, layering).

In terms of cleanliness and hygienic food handling, the flat surface of a steel confectionery conveyor means there are no joints or crevices in which germs can hide. Its smoothness means a cleaner, easier discharge of lollies, chocolate and similar products at the end of a conveying or processing line.

And stainless steel can be subjected to any method of cleaning – steam, pressure, detergents, brushes, chemicals, even aggressive scrapers – to ensure the lowest levels of bacteria and the highest standards of hygiene.

IPCO supplies belts for use in OEM systems and it can also supply every aspect of a steel-belt conveying unit, including drums, compact belt tracking devices, belt and drum cleaners, safety scrapers and belt-edge detectors, cast-iron skid bars, graphite skid bars and both active and passive belt-tracking controls.

Engineers can advise on upgrade paths or optimum process layouts, and the company’s worldwide technical support network means that installations and commissioning can be carried out quickly and efficiently.

The company can also supply complete, standalone conveyor units that represent best practice in terms of hygienic food conveying. These feature a stainless-steel framework designed to allow access for cleaning, with no narrow gaps or other hard-to-reach places in which dirt, debris and bacteria could otherwise collect.

The framework is designed to minimise the risk of water pooling after cleaning, reducing the possibility of bacterial growth. The stainless-steel conveyor belt is “endless welded” to eliminate any trace of a joint and its smooth surface means there are no hidden gaps or recesses in which bacteria could collect. All bearings are food approved and lubricated for life with food-approved lubricating grease. The motor is food-approved and has IP65 protection.

Enhanced technical and service support throughout Oceania
In line with the strategic vision for business growth in the region, IPCO recently announced its relocation to a new office, warehouse and workshop facility at Burwood, Victoria. This new facility will enable IPCO to increase efficiency and enhance support capabilities – resulting in stronger partnerships with clients throughout Oceania.

Solid and perforated steel bake oven belts save time and money

IPCO offers a range of steel-grade belts to suit different needs and environments. IPCO 1100C grade is a carbon-steel product that is used by the bakery industry, while IPCO 1200SA is a stainless-steel grade suitable for applications such as food conveying, cooling, freezing and drying. Both are available either in solid form or perforated. IPCO also offers belt grades suitable for special needs, such as resistance to corrosion or abrasive materials.

However, it is important to note that the material, or grade, is only the start of the story.

Production of a belt requires the necessary mechanical properties of flatness and straightness to be engineered into the belt. The belt must also be able to transfer the heat from the heating media to the product in an even way. This means the colour of the belt surface is important. Consistent belt colour will maximise heat transfer and ensure an even bake. Specific heat treatments are therefore applied during the production process.

In terms of supply, IPCO can provide as much, or as little input, as an oven builder requires. This can be as straightforward as belt supply through to various levels of technical advice, or consultancy to ensure that the belt delivers maximum return on investment, as well as key conveyor components such as tracking systems and graphite stations ensure smooth operation. For instance, in cases of complete belt upgrades, moving from mesh to solid or perforated steel, IPCO will often supply all conveyor components – sheaves, bearings, framework and all other required accessories.

READ MORE: Steel belts offer versatility for the food industry

Wide belts for enhanced productivity
One area of increasing interest to many oven builders is IPCO’s ability to produce bake oven belts up to 3,500mm wide. This makes it possible to build wider ovens, increasing productivity without having to invest in factory extensions or new facilities. An oven with a 1,500mm-wide belt offers almost twice the productivity of one with an 800mm belt without any increase in the line length. An upgrade to an oven with a 3,200mm belt or larger, will increase throughput by a factor of four. The use of a steel belt of any size also has the potential to reduce baking times. The combination of a steel belt’s heat transfer qualities and comparatively low weight often means that belt speed can be increased, cutting baking time by as much as 25-30 per cent.

Reducing carbon footprint through energy efficiency
Bake ovens can account for as much as 45 per cent of a bakery’s overall energy consumption and as much of 25 per cent of this is used heating the conveyor belt. The bake oven belt can, therefore, have a major impact on overall energy costs so ensuring maximum efficiency here is important.

A solid-steel bake oven belt weighs 30 per cent less than a comparable mesh belt and therefore costs up to 30 per cent less to heat. And perforated belts weigh as much as 35 per cent less again.

As well as cutting heating costs, this weight advantage also means less energy is needed to drive the belt through the oven.

Apart from these energy savings, steel belts are also easier to clean being flat and smooth. This not only delivers savings in water and detergent but also means greater overall productivity, with time spent baking instead of cleaning.

And there’s an additional point worth making: these benefits don’t just apply to baking. IPCO belts are used across the food industry for cooling, freezing, cooking, forming and drying.

IPCO Australia enhanced technical and service support throughout Oceania
IPCO held the grand opening of its new Melbourne (Burwood Industrial Park) headquarters on July 9th. The company is owned by FAM AB, which is part of the Swedish Wallenberg group, and has production facilities in the Americas, Asia and Europe and a worldwide technical service for quick response wherever and whenever it’s needed.
As a partner to the bakery industry since 1925, the company has built long-term partnerships with both OEMs and end customers. IPCO engineers have a wealth of experience in supporting the bakery industry and can deliver the most appropriate solution for any requirement whether it is a new installation, an upgrade to an existing facility (from wire mesh to a solid or perforated belt), or simply supplying a replacement belt.

Steel belts offer versatility for the food industry

Steel belts were first used for conveying food in 1925 when a carbon steel belt was installed in an oven to enable continuous baking. Six years later, the arrival of the stainless-steel belt opened the door to hundreds of more hygiene-critical applications across the food industry. The company behind both technical breakthroughs was IPCO.

IPCO is now an independent company owned by FAM AB, part of the Swedish-based Wallenberg group. The company has 600 employees; production facilities in America, Asia and Europe; more than 35 sales and service offices around the world and annual sales in excess of $368 million.

Hygienic processing on IPCO steel conveyors
Steel conveyor belts can be produced in solid or perforated form, in carbon or stainless steel, and to virtually any length or width. They are strong, stable and durable, and a flat, smooth surface enables, fast, easy and efficient cleaning for the highest standards of hygiene.

They are used across applications ranging from simple conveying to the processing of fish, meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables, coffee, tea, confectionery, baked goods, pet foods and more.

For some of these applications, thermal properties are key. No other material can be used across a range of processes, maintaining their strength and flexibility at operating temperatures from minus 80°C to +750°C. Applications include freezing, cooling, steaming, solidifying, drying and baking, and the ability of the steel belt to conduct heat quickly and efficiently is a major benefit.

Bake oven belts
Bakeries are another area in which steel belts are used for production. In this instance, the belts are carbon steel, rather than the stainless used in most food processing applications.
This is a challenging environment and bake oven belts have to be able to withstand extraordinary stresses. They are tensioned, tracked, heated up, cooled down, and turned around rollers thousands of times a day. And every single steel belt includes a welded joint that has to be just as capable of withstanding this treatment as the belt material itself.
However, the steel belt’s inherent stability, durability and resistance to stretching means it can deliver a long working life, in many cases 20 years or more.

The solid surface provides a crisp base that cannot be achieved on any other conveying medium, and its hard, smooth quality delivers a clean product release. Whether solid or perforated, a steel belt stays flat, keeps its shape and offers excellent thermal conductivity. Products as varied as pizza bases, granola bars, biscuits, cakes, macaroons and brownies can all be baked on a steel belt.

One benefit not always recognised about steel belts is their energy efficiency. Solid-steel belts are lighter than wire mesh – perforated steel belts lighter still – and so cost up to 30 per cent less to heat. Each time the belt exits the baking chamber, it begins to cool and has to be heated up again, so the savings are continuous. As much of 25 per cent of an oven’s energy consumption is needed to heat the belt, so the savings can be considerable.

Conveying and cooling
The most basic application is simple conveying, where the qualities of stainless steel – chemical and bacterial neutrality, inherent inertness, and ease of sanitising – make it a good choice for the transportation of chocolate and other bulk ingredients.

Wear-resistance is a useful quality when considering materials like sugar, whose abrasive properties mean rubber or plastic belts are often unsuitable, not only due to a limited lifespan, but also because of the risk of contamination by rubber fragments. For applications such as meat cutting and tomato sorting, durability and resistance to damage caused by corrosion or impact are other important factors.

In terms of cooling, products typically processed on steel-belt coolers include caramel, chocolate chips/pastilles, hard melt candy, nougat, nut brittle and more. In each case, the product is applied to the belt as a melt, either through casting or drop depositing, and solidified as it passes through a cooling tunnel.

In the case of chocolate, the heat of the melt is transferred to cooling air blown onto the product and to the belt itself. For products less sensitive to humidity, chilled cooling water can be sprayed against the underside of the belt, and the excellent thermal conductivity of the belt transfers the heat from product to coolant, delivering fast, controlled solidification.

For others, it is the inherent durability of stainless steel that makes these belts the right investment decision. Far more resistant to damage by corrosion, abrasion or impact than any other belt type, a stainless-steel conveyor provides the ideal long-term solution for potentially aggressive applications, such as sugar conveying or meat boning plants.

Full Range of conveyor components
This process expertise puts IPCO in the position to support equipment manufacturers and end users in the design of conveyor systems. As well as supplying steel belts, the company offers a range of ancillary equipment, including graphite skid bars that optimise performance, sheaves, shafts, bearings and breakpoints.

IPCO’s conveyor accessory range also includes a selection of belt tracking controls for accurate and effective belt tracking. One example of these is the Compact Belt Tracker (CBT), a light, self-supporting device available in a range of sizes to suit belt widths from 600-3000mm.

More than 100 years’ experience in belt production and service
IPCO’s heritage in belt production stretches all the way back to 1901 and the company has been behind most major innovations since then. IPCO engineers have extensive experience of working with baking and confectionery machine builders and end users to achieve optimum performance and reliability, and this process expertise is readily available.

As well as manufacturing steel belts for use in OEM systems, the company is able to supply every aspect of a steel belt conveying unit, including drums, tracking devices, skid bars and more. Engineers can advise on upgrade paths or optimum process layouts, and the company’s worldwide technical support network means that installations and commissioning can be carried out quickly and efficiently.

IPCO Australia is moving to a new office
The company has recently announced its relocation to a new business park in Burwood, Victoria.
“We look at this new location as the start of another chapter in our history,” says Kerenza Nortje, marketing manager, Oceania.