50% of average recycled content included in packaging

Recycling isn’t truly complete until packaging is successfully recovered and used again as recycled content, at its highest potential value for as long as possible. Australia is making significant progress towards this Target.

Figure 1: Progress towards the 50% Recycled Content Target as of 2019-20.


Outlined below are:

  • Resources to support Members’ progress towards this Target.
  • A list of current APCO activities supporting the uptake of post-consumer recycled content in packaging in Australia.


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. Principle 5, ‘Use recycled materials’, supports the incorporation of recycled materials into packaging. The aim of the Principle is to optimise the amount of recycled content in packaging, considering technical feasibility, consumer acceptability, regulatory requirements (e.g. food contact/safety) etc.
  • Supporting Government Procurement of Recycled Materials: In November 2020, APCO released a report designed to support government procurement of recycled materials – a critical step in increasing demand in Australia. 
  • Recycled Content Guide: In August 2021, APCO released guidelines detailing the use of recycled content for different material types. The guide contains key considerations, as well as clear and practical information on how to incorporate recycled content into packaging.
  • Case studies of other APCO Members and how they are using recycled materials.

APCO activities supporting this Target

  • Delivery of the Supporting Government Procurement of Recycled Materials document in November 2020.
  • Delivery of the Recycled Content Guide in August 2021.
  • Development of the Recycled Content Pledge Program. This Program will see APCO Members publicly commit to the volumes of specific materials they will transition from virgin to recycled materials by 2025. Led by APCO and modelled on similar programs operating in Europe, this initiative will drive greater uptake of recycled content in packaging, stimulate major investments, and signal to industry there is critical demand for recycled materials in packaging.