Recycling rates on increase in Australia

As part of national recycling week this week (10-16 November), it is refreshing to report that Australia’s packaging recycling rates are on the increase.

The National Packaging Covenant (Covenant) is a unique initiative between government and industry set up to stop packaging waste ending up in landfill.

A recent independent review of the Covenant has shown that the overall recycling rate for packaging was 56% in 2007 and it is likely the Covenant’s target of 65% will be met by 2010. This independent review was part of the requirements of the Covenant 2005-2010.

Environment Ministers discussed this report at their recent meeting on November 7, 2008 and requested that the Covenant Council prepare a framework for an extended Covenant beyond June 2010, plus other options for managing the environmental impacts of packaging. This will be given further consideration at their next meeting.

All of the mid-term review reports are now available on the Covenant website.

In addition to recycling rates other key Covenant review findings include:

  • Covenant funded projects are effective in making a contribution to the achievement of the targets;
  • An overwhelming majority of signatories want the Covenant to continue beyond 2010;
  • Since 2003, the amount of packaging going to landfill has decreased by 24%;
  • Signatory actions have drastically improved the recyclability and recycled content of packaging;
  • The level of participation in the Covenant has exceeded all expectations and the cooperative model is working well in Australia.

Chair of Covenant Council, Cr Dick Gross said, “This is great news. The findings of the mid-term review show that the Covenant has been part of a dramatic revolution in Australian packaging which brings great credit to federal, state and local governments, the packaging and waste industries and the community.”

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