Packaging reforms will reduce costs and boost recycling for councils

Strong advocacy and leadership by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and local governments has resulted in new national packaging standards and reforms announced today that will help councils save money on waste and recycling.

At the Environment Ministers’ Meeting in Adelaide, it was agreed the Federal Government will establish new regulations for packaging as well as mandate how packaging is designed, develop minimum recycled content requirements and prohibit harmful chemicals being used.

ALGA President Councillor Linda Scott said the reforms were important for local governments who have consistently advocated for these changes.

“Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s commitment to introduce federal packaging standards is a major win for local governments as part of our transition to a circular economy. Australia’s councils welcome these reforms, as they will allow us to recycle more effectively and save public money in the long term by ensuring businesses are more responsible for their products to their end-of-life,” Cr Scott said.

“The changes will help create a stronger market for recycled goods by mandating that packaging contains recycled content, which is a critical reform.”

Collecting, treating, and disposing of Australian domestic waste costs Australia’s 537 local governments an estimated $3.5 billion annually.  Local government also dedicates resources to administering community waste-education programs, collecting litter, addressing illegal rubbish dumping, and ensuring compliance with waste bylaws.

Cr Scott also welcomed the Ministers’ agreement for a new framework to accelerate product stewardship by better coordinating work across all levels of government.

“Fundamental to improving kerbside recycling collection services is the redesign of packaging so there is less waste, and it contains less mixed material and is more easily recycled,” Cr Scott said.

“Councils are proud to do all we can to support reducing waste and boosting recycling.”