The recycling of packaging in New Zealand is set to increase thanks to a new partnership between the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council (FGC) and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), which will advance the uptake of the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) scheme.
The ARL is an on-pack labelling scheme that helps consumers to recycle correctly and supports brand owners to design packaging that is recyclable at end-of-life.
The programme was developed by APCO in partnership with Planet Ark and Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) Design.
The partnership between FGC and APCO will see both organisations co-design a roadmap to raise awareness of the ARL in New Zealand for the benefit of consumers, brand owners, packaging suppliers, recyclers and the environment.
The roadmap aims to:
- increase the number of food and grocery companies using the ARL on consumer packaging
- ensure the ARL is fit for purpose by using software managed by PREP Design that is reflective of the market
- support alignment by all value chain players.
APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said, “We are excited to be working with the FGC to increase uptake of the ARL in New Zealand and support brand owners to adopt it so they can provide their customers with critical information that will increase recycling rates and resource recovery.
“The ARL has just reached a new milestone of 250,000 SKUs on-pack in Australia and 80,000 SKUs in New Zealand. Partnerships like this are critical for supporting brands to design for the local recycling capability and to ensure credibility in consumer information.”
Food & Grocery chief executive Katherine Rich said, “69 per cent of New Zealanders say they check the label on packaging before recycling, so the instructions need to be clear and most importantly reflect the collection and recycling system here in New Zealand.
“More than 95 per cent of scannable barcodes on packaging are common across both New Zealand and Australia, so our members need one labelling system. We are excited to continue this great work by championing the adoption of the ARL, not just by the food and grocery sector but for all packaging.”
In 2021, FGC began supporting the adoption of the ARL in New Zealand after a Ministry for the Environment report recognised the ARL as the best recycling labelling approach, based on its evidence-based system that ensures packaging with the ARL label can be successfully recovered.
The ARL was also recognised by UN Environment Programme and Consumers International as one of the leading labelling systems globally for its clarity, accessibility and reliability.