Priority Projects

Every year APCO delivers a program of Priority Projects to drive progress on Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.  

In FY21, APCO’s Priority Projects have been designed to take action on the strategies outlined in Our Packaging Future - Australia’s national roadmap to 2025. The 20+ projects were developed in partnership with, and will be coordinated by, APCO’s Working Groups. 

The FY21 Priority Projects include: 


Reuse roadmap

This project will build an evidence-based business case and strategy for packaging reuse models. The working group will also map and quantify current flows of reusable packaging, research alternative models and identify priority opportunities.

Reuse pilot

The working group will facilitate collaborative pilot projects to implement reuse in targeted supply chains.


Packaging recyclability research

This project will consist of research to inform packaging design for recyclability, including MRF trials to investigate the fate of certain fibre-based, glass and small items of packaging, along with the development of a testing protocol to identify recyclability thresholds for fibre-based packaging, which will then be integrated into PREP.

Design guidelines

The working group will develop four new design guidelines, in the style of the existing Quickstart guides, to support Sustainable Packaging Guide implementation. These guides will cover soft plastics (building on CEFLEX), rigid plastics (PET complete – PP and HDPE), fibre-based packaging/PCPB and problematic small items.

Business to business (B2B) packaging

This project will promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of B2B packaging and assess the applicability of the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) in the B2B stream.

Strategies for recycling soft plastics

This project will consist of research and trials to reduce waste and increase recycling of soft plastic packaging. 

Remote and regional partnership

The working group will investigate opportunities for product stewardship models, including trials, and work to address limited access to collection or drop-off collection systems in some remote and regional areas.


Compostable packaging positioning paper

The working group will develop a joint positioning paper on compostable packaging with the Australian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA). The paper will address industry and consumer confusion around suitable best-practice use of compostable packaging and other considerations.

National compostable packaging strategy

In this project, the working group will work to develop a national, long-term strategy for compostable packaging with key stakeholders (ABA & AORA) to provide a considered approach to integrating compostable packaging into the current system.

Recycled content

Recycled content traceability 

This project will aim to support industry and government confidence in recycled content products and packaging, produced in Australia or imported.

Specifications for recycled materials

This project will develop a set of standard requirements for recycled materials in packaging, particularly plastics. The aim is to encourage companies in the packaging value chain to utilise more recycled materials in their packaging by building confidence that recycled materials can meet fit-for-purpose quality and colour requirements.

Recycled content design guidelines

For this project, the working group will develop material-specific design guidelines to educate the packaging supply chain on using recycled content.

Recycled content labelling

This project will see the development of a labelling program to communicate recycled content.

Member pledges

As part of this project, APCO will work with members to publicly pledge volumes of recycled materials in packaging.

Supporting government procurement

In this project, the working group will develop resources to support state and local government procurement of recycled content products and packaging.

Single-use, unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging phase out

Strategies for problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging

This project is focused on the development of an action plan to phase out four priority plastic materials: oxo-degradable expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage service containers, EPS packaging fill, ox-degradable plastics and light weight bags. The group will also research other materials under phase out consideration – PVC, PS, additives such as titanium dioxide and carbon black, and multi-material laminate plastics.

Approaches for non-recyclable packaging

In this project, the working group will research the 12% of packaging that is not currently

recyclable and develop action plans or pilots to resolve barriers for each material and supply chain.


Annual material flow analysis

The working group will conduct the Annual measurement of progress towards the 2025 Targets. This project will collect 2018/19 data with the addition of Business to Business packaging flows and reuse models, along with updated Material Flow Analysis modelling to include 2018/19 data, B2B packaging flows and reuse.

Circular Economy Hub

The working group will provide support for this Planet Ark-led project. The group will aid in the collation of packaging data for CE Hub Marketplace.

Sector approaches

In this project, APCO will support specific sectors with priority packaging projects. These include:

  • The development of industry sector map and overarching framework to guide engagement and collaboration along sectoral value chains
  • Greenlife – support expansion of PP closed loop collection and recycling program
  • Providing support for the medical/dental industry to reduce single-use plastics and identify reuse or closed loop models
  • The dairy industry

Circular Plastics Recycling Initiative (CPRi)

This project will focus on collaboration with key universities to research, develop and prioritise projects that will drive increased innovation for plastics in the circular economy.