Government welcomes further action on plastic packaging

16 October 2020

The decision by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to move to pursue accreditation under the Federal Government’s revamped product stewardship legislation has been welcomed by the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans MP.

Accreditation gives companies and organisations a Government-backed tick of approval to show they are helping drive circular economy outcomes for all Australians.

“Consumers expect action on plastic packaging, and the Morrison Government is looking at all options to ensure the 2025 National Packaging Targets are met,” said Assistant Minister Evans.

“The Government has made important changes to accreditation in its new waste and recycling legislation which is currently before Parliament. Once this legislation is passed, more companies will be able to apply for this tick of approval and use the official product stewardship logo, helping them market their products to environmentally-conscious consumers”.

If approved, APCO will become one of the first Australian organisations to be accredited under the modernised product stewardship scheme. This will give greater transparency to the efforts of Australian packaging companies to significantly increase the amount of packaging that is recycled and the amount of recycled content used in new packaging in the future.

“The proposed new accreditation system will provide a powerful opportunity to promote robust and accountable product stewardship practices here in Australia. As Australia’s largest and most effective product stewardship organisation, we welcome the opportunity to further progress the positive environmental, social and economic outcomes driven by the collective impact program delivered by APCO,” said Ms Brooke Donnelly, CEO at APCO.

The Morrison Government’s new waste and recycling legislation also allows the Minister to call out businesses letting Australians down by not participating in accredited or voluntary schemes. Equally importantly, the Minister will also be able to highlight companies and schemes that are achieving positive outcomes and working to strongly reduce Australia’s overall waste footprint.

This decision by APCO to move to pursue accreditation under the revamped product stewardship legislation is another critical step in meeting Australia’s ambitious packaging targets by 2025, comprising:

  • The phase out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics packaging.
  • 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging.
  • 70% of plastic packaging being recycled or composted.
  • 50% of average recycled content included in packaging.

This new recycling and product stewardship legislation is part of the Morrison Government’s strong action to drive a $1 billion transformation of the waste and recycling industry to collect, recycle, reuse and convert waste into a resource.

Over 100 applications have been received for the $20 million Product Stewardship Investment Fund, which will result in dozens of new and improved national product stewardship schemes across Australia. The government will also be releasing a National Plastics Plan before the end of this year.

For more information on product stewardship, see https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste-resource-recovery/product-stewardship.