Recycled Content Traceability Standard

Recycling is not 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 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 a Recycled Content Traceability Guide (the Guide) that will provide organisations with the confidence to begin tracing recycled content through their supply chains. This guide will support organisations to build an evidence base for the use of on-pack labels and claims.

 

Early development

Working Groups 2019 – 2020

  • 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.
  • Research into current labelling and certification Guidelines for recycled content. The research found there was no consistent certification program or label in Australia, in addition to identifying opportunities for growth and learnings for best practice.
  • Investigated and showcased examples of Members already successfully incorporating recycled content in packaging: E.g., The ICONICUnileverSimplot, and Natures Organics.  
  • Consumer research and testing on recycled content messaging and claims, along with supporting messaging for a broader education. 


Development of the Guideline

In 2021, APCO developed a draft of the Guide for the use of pre- and post-consumer recycled materials in packaging. Two pilot audits were identified – one for glass and the other for plastic. Learnings from these pilots have been incorporated into the supporting documentation and future approach.

 

Stakeholder engagement

APCO has engaged extensively with stakeholders over this period and is now reviewing the appropriateness of an auditable guide for recycled content. APCO are undertaking material-specific consultations to ensure the Guide and supporting resources consider all five main material types and their unique supply chains.

 

Members are encouraged to:

  • Signal their interest in the Guide by signing up to the Expression of Interest list to keep up to date with launch details and upcoming webinars.
  • Review and utilise existing resources, including:
    • Recycled Content Guide
    • Recycled Content Targets 
    • Supporting Government Procurement of Recycled Materials 
  • Provide feedback directly to APCO about their experiences, learnings, and recommendations for the Guide and supporting resources – get in touch using arl@apco.org.au