Australian government and corporations aim to have 100 per cent sustainable packaging by 2025

Australia’s ambitious 2025 national packaging targets have the Australian government and leaders in sectors including food and packaging working together to create a more environmentally friendly country.

On the 25th of September, the minister for the environment, Melissa Price, joined leaders from packaging, retail, logistics, manufacturing, recycling and waste management businesses in a pledge to better manage packaging waste.

Australia’s 2025 national packaging targets were announced at an event in Melbourne, convened by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).

The 2025 targets are for 100 per cent of Australia’s packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

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Seventy per cent of Australia’s plastic packaging should be recycled or composted and a 30 per cent average recycled content should be included across all packaging by 2025.

The goal is also to have all problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging phased out through changes in design, innovation or alternative methods.

These targets build on commitments made by commonwealth, state and territory environment ministers and the president of the Australian local government association, in April 2018, to set a sustainable path for Australia’s recyclable waste.

Price congratulated APCO, Woolworths and the initial working group of key business leaders including Coca-Cola Amatil, Goodman Fielder, Nestlé, Pact Group, Simplot and Unilever in tackling Australia’s waste challenges and supporting these targets.

To support the 2025 targets, members of the initial working group have also been joined by industry representatives and environmental groups including Aldi, Amcor, Australia Post, Tetra Pak and Goodman Fielder.

Woolworths quality and sustainability general manager, Alex Holt, said Woolworths was pleased to see such a wide range of industry players come together in support of such a worthy goal.

“Moving towards a circular economy won’t be easy, but we have the right mix of organisations on board to help make it a reality,” said Holt.

At the event, Minister Price officially launched the Australasian recycling label as an important tool for achieving the 2025 targets.

The new labelling system was developed by Planet Ark, PREP Design and APCO to help consumers better understand how to recycle packaging.

With more than 200 recycling labels currently being used in Australian packaging, the new evidence-based system is designed to combat confusion about recycling and reduce the levels of contamination in the waste stream.

Price said the recycling label provides people with easy to understand recycling information when they need it most, in those few seconds when they are deciding what bin the package goes in.

“The label removes confusion and reduces waste,” she said.

To date more than 50 Australian businesses have committed to the program.

Nestlé’s Oceania head of corporate and external relations, Margaret Stuart, said people who buy Nestlé products are increasingly wanting to know how to manage packing waste.

APCO was charged by the Australian government to make all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

APCO is committed to reducing the environmental impact of packaging on Australian communities by moving towards a circular economy.