Frequently Asked Questions

Australasian Recycling Label Program

Access to the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) Program is exclusive to Members of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). APCO Members can join the ARL Program to gain access to the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) and the ARL.

There are a series of steps Members must take before the ARL can appear on-pack including agreeing to PREP and ARL Terms and Conditions. If you are already an APCO Member, refer to the ARL Program User Guide for full details. For more information on the ARL Program, please click here.

To understand the recyclability of your packaging at kerbside, APCO provide the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) to our Members. PREP is an online tool that assesses packaging specifications to determine how a piece of packaging will perform in the Australian and New Zealand resource recovery systems.

When it comes to packaging, even the smallest details can have an impact on recyclability, including the packaging material, shape, size and weight. For every item of packaging, PREP classifies recyclability via the availability of collection services, how the packaging will behave in a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and in subsequent processing facilities, such as paper mills and aluminum smelters.

The PREP recyclability classification for each component, then informs the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) that can be used on pack to communicate recyclability to consumers. Read more information about PREP and the ARL (the two elements of the ARL Program) on the APCO website.

No. Access to the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) is exclusive to Members of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and is a trademarked logo. This means that to apply to ARL on your packaging, you will need to first become an APCO Member. To then participate in the ARL Program, you are agreeing to use the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) and the ARL as per the stipulated guidelines.

There are a series of steps Members must take before the ARL can appear on pack - information on this is provided in an ARL Program User Guide. For more information on the ARL Program, please click here.

APCO always encourages clear on-pack labelling to ensure that after you have done all this hard work to redesign for recyclability, that consumers then play their role in disposing of each component of packaging correctly. The ARL Program provides consistency and transparency. To find out more about the ARL Program, including the National Consumer Education Campaign, please click here.

No. At this time, the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) Program is a voluntary program available exclusively to APCO Members, however, as a powerful tool for improving packaging design and labelling for recyclability, it is highly recommended. To find out more about APCO Membership, please click here.

Participation is the ARL Program, including access to PREP and the ARL is included within APCO Membership and covered by APCO Membership Fees.

Additional fees may apply if an organisation wishes to have additional users within PREP.

No. Recyclability assessments of packaging are completed internally by an organisation using the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) online tool. PREP will request specific details on all components of the packaging being assessed including shape, size, weight, inks, adhesives and the materials used.

PREP is exclusive to APCO Members who have agreed to the PREP Terms and Conditions, and informs the use of the ARL on-pack. To find out more about PREP and how it fits within the ARL Program, click here.

PREP is an online tool that allows packaging manufactures and brand owners to assesses how their packaging will perform in the Australian and New Zealand resource recovery systems.

When it comes to packaging, even the smallest details can have an impact on recyclability, including the packaging shape, size, weight, inks, adhesives and the materials used.

For every item of packaging, PREP considers all of these factors, as well as the availability of collection services, how the packaging will behave in a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and in subsequent processing facilities, such as paper mills and aluminium smelters.

By aggregating this information into a simple online platform, PREP empowers businesses to understand whether their packaging is recyclable, non-recyclable, or conditionally recyclable – provided consumers follow the set instructions in the corresponding ARL on-pack. The ARL is generated using the evidence supplied by PREP. Only once a business has conducted a PREP assessment can the ARL be used on-pack.

The PREP process provides a verified and transparent education loop between the design and the end-of-life of packaging in the Australian and New Zealand kerbside recycling systems. Click here to find out more.

Access to PREP is exclusive to Members of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).

Compliant APCO Members (Brand Owners, International Affiliates and Sustainability Professionals) can gain access to PREP by agreeing to the PREP Terms and Conditions within the APCO Member Centre.

PREP access is granted on the condition the APCO Member remains compliant with all APCO Member obligations, as specified under the Australian Packaging Covenant ('the Covenant').

When it comes to packaging, even the smallest details can have an impact on recyclability, including the packaging shape, size, weight, inks, adhesives and the materials used.

For every item of packaging, PREP considers all of these factors, as well as the availability of collection services, how the packaging will behave in a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and in subsequent processing facilities, such as paper mills and aluminium smelters.

Click here to find out more.

The Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) is an online tool that assesses how a piece of packaging will perform in the Australian and New Zealand resource recovery systems. PREP simulates the Australian and New Zealand kerbside recycling system (infrastructure and processes), through a robust series of thresholds and parameters developed in consultation with local governments, recyclers and material reprocessors.

APCO also has a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), that exists to ensure that the data informing PREP is up-to-date and reflective of the current resource recovery systems in Australia and New Zealand. Comprised of experts across the packaging supply chain, recycling industry and government, the TAC ensures that technical and kerbside data are verified and considers research in areas where recyclability is evolving or unclear.

Conditionally Recyclable is the term given to a piece of packaging in the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) Program that can be recycled but only if the specific instructions in the ARL on-pack are followed by the consumer. These Conditionally Recyclable instructions can be broken down into three main categories:


  1. There is another destination that allows recycling and therefore a consumer must 'drop off' or 'return' that packaging to the approved destination for recycling to occur. For example the Australian REDcycle program and New Zealand Soft Plastics Recycling program are approved alternative destinations under the ARL Program.

  2. Consumer behaviours are available, that will improve recyclability of end of life packaging. This means that a packaging component may be recyclable but only under the conditions that the consumer follows the specific approved instructions to support the recyclability of that item. This could include actions such a 'scrunch', 'flatten', 'leave attached', etc.

  3. The item is ‘Less Widely Accepted’ by Councils and so the consumer must 'Check Locally' to determine whether they reside in a council area that does accept that packaging item.

Visit our website or arl.org.au for further information

The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) is an on-pack label that helps consumers in Australia and New Zealand to correctly recycle their packaging.

Packaging can be made up of a range of different components and materials, and many of these require different disposal methods. Some belong in the bin, some can be recycled, while others require special instructions in order to be recycled correctly.

The ARL provides all of this information in one easy label that is evidenced based and consistent so consumers can trust that how they dispose of their packaging is correct.

To find out more about the ARL and the ARL Program, click here.

Access and use of the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) is exclusive to Members of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). Members of APCO who have signed the PREP and the ARL Terms and Conditions, can access ARL artworks files in the APCO Member Centre under the ARL Program tab.

Detail on required ARL artwork dimensions (size, shape, etc.) can be found within the ARL Program User Guide. This APCO Member exclusive resource can be found here. Adhering to the ARL Program User Guide requirements is included in the ARL Terms and Conditions agreement, underpinning Program compliance.

The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) does not currently provide recoverability information for compostable packaging. The ARL currently only conveys recyclability for consumer packaging across Australia and New Zealand's kerbside recycling systems.

Refer to the APCO Considerations for Compostable Packaging resource and the Australasian Bioplastics Association website for information on the Australian Standards.

If you spot an Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) on-pack that you believe is incorrect - please send a photo of the ARL with detail on the product to the ARL Team via our Consumer Complaints Form.

To know if a piece of packaging is recyclable, look for the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL). This is an on-pack label that details the recyclability of all packaging components. The label is evidenced by the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) which assess packaging recyclability across Australia and New Zealand, taking into account collection, sortation, reprocessing and end-markets. Visit our website for further information or arl.org.au