Australian Government calls for “more work” to achieve packaging targets

The Federal Government recently commissioned an independent review into the co-regulatory framework that underpins the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) 2021 (the NEPM), finding that “more work” needs to be done to achieve National packaging Targets by 2025.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said good progress is being made against the targets, but more work is required to ensure they are delivered in full by 2025.

It identified that targets requiring attention by industry include increasing the volume of plastic packaging being recycled, as well as increasing the amount of recycled content in plastic packaging.

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has welcomed the review’s findings and recommendations for building a stronger and more robust co-regulatory framework. 

To drive further industry action, APCO has set a new recycled content target for plastic packaging of 20 per cent.

APCO has also set material specific targets for recycled content in plastic packaging made from:

  • polyethylene (PET) (30 per cent)
  • high-density polyethylene (HDPE) (20 per cent)
  • polypropylene (PP) (20 per cent)

Governments and APCO work together to actively track and review industry’s progress towards the targets.  

The review is a process that takes place every five years and is designed to ensure that Australia has an effective system in place to manage its packaging.    

“As anticipated, the report highlights a number of strengths and weaknesses within the current model. It is fantastic to see the review recognise industry’s powerful momentum towards the 2025 National Packaging Targets, including the range of positive programs and resources in place including the Australasian Recycling Label Program, the ANZPAC Plastics Pact and the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines,” APCO said.

“APCO strongly supports the reforms set out within the report. Greater national consistency, clearer KPIs and stronger compliance and enforcement will all accelerate Australia’s progress towards the 2025 Targets.  

“An ambitious program of work will be critical for achieving these changes. This includes both immediate actions to support the delivery of the 2025 Targets, as well as longer term, strategic reforms to implement a stronger legislative and administrative model for managing packaging beyond 2025.

“APCO looks forward to partnering closely with industry and government to formulate, design and build an effective framework to deliver a strong, sustainable packaging future in Australia.”

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