Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets were announced this week at an industry event that I attended convened by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).
The targets aim to reduce packaging waste and improve recycling in Australia while building on commitments made by the Commonwealth, state and territory environment ministers and ALGA in April this year to set a sustainable path for Australia’s recyclable waste.
The 2025 National Packaging Targets are:
- 100% of all Australia’s packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 or earlier
- 70% of Australia’s plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025
- 30% average recycled content will be included across all packaging by 2025
- Problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging will be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives
I commend the steps taken by APCO to set some clear targets for its members to improve material types and help reduce the quantities of packaging waste entering the system. I also commend APCO on ensuring the compostability of packaging is also within their 2025 target and on the launch of a new label to help make it easier for householders to know what bins to put their rubbish in.
While these steps are indeed essential, I would also like to highlight the importance of moving Australia towards a more circular economy to better capture and use resources already in the system.
The Commonwealth has a critical role in promoting and strengthening a circular economy for a sustainable future. Without this national leadership, we risk mounting stockpiles of waste manufactured here and overseas, along with the associated safety concerns and ever-increasing amounts of potentially useful materials going to landfill. A coordinated, Australia-wide approach should be adopted to prevent inefficiencies associated with inconsistent state-based regulations, labelling or collection standards. Such inconsistencies will be a barrier to achieving a nationwide circular economy for recycled products and risk diminishing values for recyclables – something that is already impacting upon councils kerbside and when negotiating contracts.
With the closing date for comments only a week away to inform the update on the National Waste Policy, I encourage you to read the discussion paper and consider how those proposed targets relate to your councils and communities.
Comments can be made to the National Waste Taskforce by Friday 5 October via their online survey or by written submission at http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/national-waste-policy/consultation-on-updating-national-waste-policy
Don’t waste your chance to tell them what matters to you and your community.
Mayor David O’Loughlin