Recycled Content in Packaging

Australia is making strong progress towards the 2025 National Packaging Target for an average of 50% recycled content included in all packaging, with 2019/20 data showing a 39% average of post-consumer sourced recycled content in packaging.

To continue to support and drive progress for the implementation of recycled materials in packaging, APCO is developing the Recycled Content Label (RCL) Program. Since 2019 APCO has collaborated with key stakeholders across the supply chain to understand the barriers and requirements for increasing the use of recycled content in packaging, including the following activities:  

2019 Working Groups

  • Research into current labelling and verification standards for recycled content. The research found there was no consistent label or verification program in Australia, in addition to identifying opportunities for growth and learnings for best practice verification and on-pack labelling. 
  • Investigated and showcased examples of Members already successfully incorporating recycled content in packaging:

2020 Working Groups

  • Development of the draft Recycled Content Traceability Standard and draft on-pack label for recycled materials.
  • Consumer research and testing on a recycled materials label, including proposed label design and messaging, along with supporting messaging for broader education.

The RCL Program is currently in the final development phase with APCO working with industry to ensure it is accessible, robust and supportive. The key program objectives include:

Deliver a Traceability Standard and Verification Scheme that:

  • Provides confidence for brand owners’ recycled materials claims through on-pack labelling.
  • Enables the tracking of progress towards the 2025 Targets and APCO Member reporting.
  • Engages the supply chain to understand current recycled content utilisation and opportunities to increase this.

Deliver a Recycled Content Label that:

  • Enables a consistent and clear on-pack label, growing consumer engagement and understanding of recycled materials. 
  • Separates often confused messaging of ‘recyclable’ materials and ‘recycled’ materials. 
  • Increases awareness of the importance of recycled materials and builds renewed confidence in recycling.
  • Empowers consumers to choose packaging with recycled materials – driving demand for recycled content and in turn sustained recycling. 
  • Meets ISO 14021 & ACCC Green Marketing Guidelines requirements.
  • Recognises and rewards organisations utilising recycled content.

APCO is calling on all Members and key stakeholders in the packaging value chain to become involved in the important development phase. Members are encouraged to: 

  • Signal your interest in the RCL Program by signing up to the RCL Program Expression of Interest
  • APCO will establish an RCL reference group to provide diverse industry feedback into the development of the program. To learn more contact
  • Review and utilise existing resources
    • Recycled Content Guide
    • Recycled Content Targets 
    • Supporting Government Procurement of Recycled Materials 

  • Join upcoming webinars and workshops to enable all APCO Members and key stakeholders to contribute to the development of the RCL Program.
  • Provide feedback directly to APCO about your experiences, learnings and recommendations for the RCL Program – get in touch using 
  • Work with your suppliers and packaging manufacturers to investigate how your supply chain is currently documenting and evidencing the use of any recycled materials. Ask lots of questions to get as much information as possible. Ensure they’re aware of what’s coming, so they can support you on this journey. 
  • If you are just getting started in understanding your use of recycled materials, assess your current supply chain and labelling practices and identify where improvements can be made. For example, use New Product Development timelines to investigate the use of recycled materials and the capture of traceability documentation or establish processes internally for gathering data on recycled materials.