Sustainable Packaging Guidelines

The Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPGs) is a comprehensive, publicly available resource used to assist in the sustainable design and manufacture of packaging in Australia.

The purpose of the SPGs is to assist Australian organisations to integrate the following ten Sustainable Packaging Principles (the Principles) into their operations. These Principles have been designed to optimise outcomes for packaging functionality and sustainability, and to help collectively deliver Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets:




Co-regulatory context

The SPGs are a central part of APCO’s co-regulatory framework. The National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM) and the Australian Packaging Covenant (the Covenant) both reference the SPGs as a resource to assist the design and manufacture of packaging that balances the demands of the market, consumer protection and the environment. 

The SPGs are agreed by all state and territory governments and are given effect by the legislative frameworks that implement the NEPM in each jurisdiction. Further detail on this can be found on pages 32 and 33 of the SPGs document.

Section 10 of the Covenant outlines that Signatories are required to undertake the following in relation to the SPGs:

  • Implement design and procurement processes that drive sustainable design of packaging, consistent with the Guidelines.
  • Apply the Guidelines to all new packaging.
  • Commit to reviewing all existing Consumer Packaging within a reasonable timeframe in accordance with the Guidelines.
  • Report on the actions they have taken to implement the Guidelines, including reporting on the outcomes of self-assessment, leading to:
    • The design of packaging that is more resource efficient and more recyclable and increase in the recovery and recycling of used packaging from households and away-from-home sources.
    • Action that reduces the incidence and impacts of litter.
  • Where Signatories consider that they can achieve equivalent outcomes to the Guidelines based on alternative guidelines and assessment processes they are required to:
    • Demonstrate in their first action plan under the Covenant that these achieve equivalent outcomes to the Guidelines.
    • Report annually on progress and achievements against these commitments.


Supporting resources

The following resources help organisations to successfully integrate the SPGs into their operations through design and procurement practices:

Quickstart Guides to support Principle 1 – Design for Recovery:

Guide to support Principle 10 - Provide consumer information on environmental sustainability.

Additional resources, such as case studies demonstrating how Members have successfully integrated the SPGs into their business practices can be found here.