Australian Government’s National Plastics Plan celebrates APCO projects tackling plastic packaging

4 March 2021


Australian Government’s National Plastics Plan celebrates APCO projects tackling plastic packaging

 

The Australian Government has today published ‘National Plastics Plan 2021’, which highlights a range of APCO-led initiatives that are driving tangible improvements to plastic packaging reduction, recycling, and recycled content uptake in the Australian marketplace.

 

The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) was recognised as a key consumer recycling education tool, with the Australian Government committing to work with industry to apply the ARL on at least 80% of supermarket products by December 2023. The ARL will also be rolled out on business-to-business packaging, while the government will work with APCO to support ARL uptake by small to medium-enterprises (SMEs).


The National Plastics Plan also highlighted APCO’s Recycled Content Pledge Project, which will see major brands publicly commit to transitioning a percentage of their packaging from virgin to recycled material. The project will help to drive the critical market demand for recycled materials that will enable Australia to meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets and help to stimulate major investment in packaging manufacturing and recycling processes for the future. A range of leading APCO Member organisations have already committed to supporting the Recycled Content Pledge, including Unilever, Coles Supermarkets, Woolworths Group, Arnott’s Group, Colgate-Palmolive Pty Ltd, Australia Post and HP Australia.

 

Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets were another key feature of the Australian Government’s approach to tackling plastics, particularly the target to phase out all problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025. Under the new plan, Australia will phase out expanded polystyrene (EPS) from loose packaging fill and moulded packaging in consumer packaging (July 2022), and EPS consumer food and beverage containers (December 2022). The plan will also see the phase out of PVC packaging labels (December 2022).  


The National Plastics Plan also highlighted the positive work being led by a number of APCO Members and partner organisations, including Mars, Nestle, REDcycle and Planet Ark’s Circular Economy Hub.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO, APCO commented: “One year on since the 2020 National Plastics Summit in Canberra, it’s fantastic to see how much progress has already been delivered on the plastic packaging issue. Australia has a huge task ahead of us to meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets and in particular ensure 70% of our plastic packaging is recycled for future use. However, as today’s new National Plastic Plan demonstrates, there is a rich program of work being rolled out by APCO, our Members, and our partners in government and the community that will get the job done and deliver a new and sustainable approach to plastic here in Australia”. 


The Plastics Plan is available to download here: For more information about APCO and the projects outlined in the Plastics Plan visit www.apco.org.au.

 

 

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About APCO (www.apco.org.au)

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. APCO works with governments, businesses and other organisations from across Australia’s large and complex packaging value chain to develop the insights, resources and programs that are needed to build a sustainable national packaging ecosystem. In 2018, APCO was endorsed by government to lead the delivery of Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets and ensure all packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. To achieve this goal, APCO is working closely with government and industry to deliver a range of sustainable design, recycling, waste to landfill reduction and circular economy projects. Recognised as one of Australia’s leading product stewardship organisations with a strong national and global collaborative network, APCO is committed to reducing the environmental impact of packaging on Australian communities by moving towards a circular economy.

 

About APCO’s Recycled Content Pledge Project

APCO’s Recycled Content Pledge Project will see major brands publicly commit to transitioning a percentage of their packaging from virgin to recycled material. The project will help to drive the critical market demand for recycled materials that will enable Australia to meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets and help to stimulate major investment in packaging manufacturing and recycling processes for the future. A range of leading organisations have already committed to supporting the APCO Recycled Content Pledge, including Unilever, Coles Supermarkets, Woolworths Group, Arnott’s Group, Colgate-Palmolive Pty Ltd, Australia Post and HP Australia.


The Recycled Content Pledge Project is modelled on the European Commission’s 2019 Plastic Pledge, which was signed by 70 organisations to reprocess and use 10 million tonnes by 2025 and is driving major investments in jobs, innovation, logistics, processing and manufacturing and circularity of material. It is on track to triple EU’s recovery of plastics within five years, reduce waste and strengthen its economy.