100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging

The first step to achieving a circular economy for packaging is to ensure each item of packaging is able to be reused, recycled or composted. 

Current progress towards this Target is strong and APCO is currently undertaking detailed analysis to identify further opportunities for elimination, reduction or redesign.

Figure 1: Progress towards the 100% Recoverability Target as of 2019-20.

In March 2020, the recycled content target was revised from 30% to 50%. APCO released a series of material-specific sub-targets relating to the uptake of recycled content in packaging. Further information on these sub-targets and recycled content can be found in our Recycled Content Guide.


Outlined below are:

  • Resources to support Members’ progress towards this Target.
  • A list of current APCO activities supporting the transition to 100% reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging.


Supporting resources for Members

  • Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPGs): the SPGs are a comprehensive resource used to assist in the sustainable design and manufacture of packaging in Australia. The SPGs are designed to assist Australian organisations to integrate the ten Sustainable Packaging Principles into their operations. The first principle ‘Design for recovery’, supports manufacturers to design packaging with the highest potential environmental value for future use.
  • Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) Program: the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) is available exclusively to APCO Members and can be used to assess the recyclability of packaging in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Quickstart Guides: APCO has developed a series of Quickstart Guides to support the design of packaging for recyclability. 
  • Scaling Up Reusable Packaging: a new resource which outlines the importance of reuse and how businesses and users can benefit from reusable packaging models.
  • Considerations for Compostable Plastic Packaging: a guideline to help businesses make informed choices when considering the use of compostable packaging.


APCO activities supporting this Target

  • Delivery of the ARL Program to APCO Members. This includes providing access to PREP.
  • Ongoing development of Quickstart Guides to support packaging recyclability design.
  • Delivery of the new Scaling Up Reusable Packaging resource in February 2022.
  • Delivery of the Considerations for Compostable Plastic Packaging resource in May 2020 in partnership with the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA).
  • Delivery of the Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap to 2025 resource in partnership with Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Products Federation in October 2021. This comprehensive resource looks at the current state of play regarding sustainable packaging in the dairy industry and what needs to be done as the industry works towards achieving the 2025 Targets. This includes the dairy industry target of 100% of Australian dairy packaging is to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 or earlier.