Recyclers applaud move towards sustainable packaging

Australian Council of Recycling

Monday, 13 November, 2023

Recyclers applaud move towards sustainable packaging

Australia’s environment ministers met in Adelaide on 10 November and agreed that the federal government will become the new regulator of packaging standards. It will mandate how packaging is designed, will set minimum recycled content requirements and prohibit harmful chemicals being used.

Australia’s new federal national packaging laws will be designed to provide regulatory certainty and consistency, and make businesses responsible for their packaging on the Australian market. The ministers agreed to include a national traceability framework which will be designed to provide certainty to users of recycled content that the material they are using is free of hidden harmful chemicals or contaminants, as well as where that material has been sourced from — whether Australia or overseas. It was agreed that a product stewardship framework will be used to better coordinate work across governments, and if voluntary product stewardship doesn’t work, government will regulate.

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) congratulates the Australian Government for taking the lead on packaging regulation to support reuse, recyclability and recycled content, underpinned by regulatory certainty and consistency.

Suzanne Toumbourou, Chief Executive Officer of ACOR, emphasised the pressing need for stronger measures. “Australia’s progress towards our agreed targets for packaging recyclability and recycled content has lagged, signifying that stronger measures need to be taken. A robust regulatory framework is paramount to promoting circular design and ensuring resilient end markets for Australian recycled materials,” she said.

“Effective measures to support recycling outcomes, including recyclability, traceability and markets for Australian recycled content, not only provide significant environmental benefits by reducing waste and improving resource efficiency, but also contribute to job creation and economic growth.

“Recycling is the link that closes the loop in a circular economy. We look forward to collaborating with the Australian Government in working across the supply chain to support circular outcomes for packaging in Australia,” Toumbourou said.

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