The Australasian Recycling Label Program

The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) Program is an on-pack labelling scheme that is helping consumers to recycle correctly and supporting brand owners to design packaging that is recyclable at end-of-life.


The Program features two key elements: 

  • The Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) - an online tool that assesses packaging recyclability in the Australian and New Zealand recovery systems.
  • The Australasian Recycling Label – an on-pack label that provides clear and simple instructions about how to recycle all of the separable packaging components.


The Program was developed by APCO in partnership with Planet Ark and PREP Design.


Since launching in 2018, the ARL Program has been adopted by close to 400 organisations, including Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, Campbell Arnott’s, Australia Post, David Jones and Country Road Group, Unilever, Pact Group, Kimberley-Clarke Australia, Simplot, Fonterra, Goodman Fielder, Officeworks, Spotlight, Nestlé, Blackmores and T2 – plus many more. 


The Program has also received strong support and endorsement by all levels of government. In 2020 the ARL Program was recognised as a world-leading consumer education initiative in a report by the UN Environment Programme, Consumers International and the One Planet network - 10YFP. The Program was commended for its clarity, reliability and accessibility. It was also singled out as one of the few Programs around the world that is delivering considered, informative and useful information that could effectively increase and improve responsible consumer behaviour. 








Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP)


PREP is an online tool that assesses how packaging will perform in the Australian and New Zealand resource recovery systems.


When it comes to packaging, even the smallest details can have an impact on recyclability, including the packaging shape, size, weight, inks, adhesives and the materials used.


For every item of packaging, PREP considers all of these factors, as well as the availability of collection services, how the packaging will behave in a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and in subsequent processing facilities, such as paper mills and aluminium smelters.


By aggregating this information into a simple online platform, PREP empowers businesses to understand whether their packaging is recyclable, non-recyclable, or conditionally recyclable – provided consumers follow a set of instructions during disposal. The ARL is generated using the evidence supplied by PREP. Only once a business has conducted a PREP assessment can the ARL be used on pack. 


The PREP process provides a verified and transparent education loop between the design and the end-of-life of packaging in the Australian and New Zealand kerbside recycling systems. 


The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL)


The ARL is an on-pack label that helps customers in Australia and New Zealand to correctly recycle their packaging. 


Packaging can be made up of a range of different components and materials, and many of these require different disposal methods. Some belong in the bin, some can be recycled, while others require special instructions in order to be recycled correctly. This includes materials like soft (or ‘scrunchable’) plastics, which need to be returned to the REDCycle collection bins in local Coles or Woolworths stores across Australia.


The ARL provides all of this information - on one easy label. 


Launched in 2018, the ARL has been adopted by many of Australia and New Zealand’s largest brands and is now a common sight in supermarkets and shops across the country. With thousands of products on the shelves, and more being added each day, many Australians and New Zealanders are now finding it easier to correctly recycle packaging. 


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APCO and our educational partner Planet Ark have a range of resources to help get the word out about the ARL Program. Visit our resource centre for more information

 

For more information on how to join or to provide feedback on the Australasian Recycling Label Program, contact the APCO team at arl@apco.org.au or phone (02) 8381 3700.