The phase out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging


Phasing out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging is essential to shift our economy and community away from single-use disposable plastic packaging to more durable reusable and recyclable packaging. By tackling these problematic items, we will also reduce packaging consumption, litter and waste, improve the economics of recycling, increase employment, lift recycling rates and help to boost recycled content in packaging.

A range of plastic items have been identified as priority items for phase-out. While some of these items may generally be considered packaging, items such as straws and stirrers, cutlery, plates, cups and bowls are frequently combined with packaging and therefore cannot be excluded from the discussion or approach. 

Figure 1: Progress towards the Phase-out Target as of 2019-20.


Outlined below are:

  • Resources to support Members’ progress towards this Target.
  • A list of current APCO activities supporting the phase-out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging.


Supporting resources for Members

  • Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPGs): The SPGs are a comprehensive resource used to assist in the sustainable design and manufacture of packaging in Australia. The SPGs are designed to assist Australian organisations to integrate the ten Sustainable Packaging Principles (the Principles) into their operations. A number of the Principles support work to phase-out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging. These include:
    • Principle 1 – Design for recovery
    • Principle 2 – Optimise material efficiency
    • Principle 7 – Design to minimise litter

  • Action Plan for Problematic and Unnecessary Single-Use Plastic Packaging: this resource is a comprehensive action plan to support Australia’s packaging supply chain as it works to address problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through innovative, sustainable solutions. The plan sets out how Australia can eliminate nine priority materials and provides a practical framework to help businesses identify opportunities to eliminate, redesign, replace or innovate to introduce new solutions. 
  • APCO works closely with a range of industry sectors to support them in identifying sector specific challenges and the development of sectoral workshops, tools, programs and resources to overcome them. Please contact the APCO team today to find out how APCO could support your industry further.


APCO activities supporting this Target