Federal Government commits $3 million to support APCO recycling projects

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and Planet Ark Environmental Foundation (PAEF) are pleased to confirm the Federal Government has today committed $3m to support four new recycling education and resource recovery projects in Australia. The funding is part of the Federal Government’s $203m package announced today in Melbourne to increase recycling and reduce waste, protect Australia’s unique threatened species and restore our waterways and coasts, and will provide essential resources and support to drive the delivery of the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The National Consumer Education Program will receive $1.1m to create a consistent national approach to consumer education on reducing, reusing and recycling packaging over the next four years. This program will extend the reach of the Australasian Recycling Label Program, an evidence-based labelling scheme that was launched by the Hon Melissa Price in September 2018 and has since been adopted by more than 200 Australian organisations. This new funding will allow the program to expand and include away from home recycling, the use of recycled content, compostable packaging and encouraging reduction and reuse behaviours.

A further $1.6m in funding will support the development of a Circular Economy Hub, a new online platform and marketplace that will help drive innovation in the transition to a circular economy in Australia. In addition to highlighting the latest sustainability education and resources, the site will match buyers and sellers in waste resources to help them identify products with sustainable materials, including recycled content. This online marketplace functionality will help to build the critical end markets for recycled products in Australia and provide essential education to the supply chain about the availability of sustainable options.

The Regional Model for Soft Plastics Recycling project is a partnership between APCO and the Plastic Police, a program developed by Cross Connections to promote regional collection and recycling of soft plastics. The Plastic Police program is currently operating in the NSW’s Hunter Region and will receive $150k to explore opportunities for expansion, including deployment in other regions.

Finally, a further $150k will be provided to the Remote and Regional Waste Collection Partnership, a project aiming to support governments and communities to address the challenges of waste and resource recovery in remote and regional areas.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation commented: “We are delighted the government has recognised the value of the ARL and the other connected projects that APCO and our partner network is committed to delivering. This funding will enable us to continue our collaborative work with industry and our partners to ensure that we meet the 2025 targets and continue to work toward achieving a circular economy in Australia.”

“The Circular Economy Hub will provide businesses with the knowledge and tools needed for their transition to a circular economy,” said Paul Klymenko, CEO of Planet Ark Environmental Foundation. “An important element will be the Circular Economy Marketplace, which will act as the B2B ‘eBay’ for the circular economy. Planet Ark is thrilled to have been entrusted with the development of these vital tools.”