Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation releases its Review of the 2025 National Packaging Targets, and is calling for a stronger co-regulatory framework; report identifies improved packaging design, expansion of B2B recycling as key opportunities

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

April 21, 2023 (press release) –

APCO SAYS CHALLENGES FACED REQUIRE A STRENGTHENED CO-REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has today released its Review of the 2025 National Packaging Targets, and is calling for a stronger co-regulatory framework which strikes a balance between industry-led action and effective government regulation. 

Chris Foley, APCO CEO, said: “We’ve seen some fantastic contributions from many businesses so it is disappointing that the headline data indicates targets will not all be met”.  

APCO Members have reported considerable action that supports the transition to a circular economy for packaging and the 2025 Targets are a key driver. 

Despite positive action by some, the report identifies the need for further improvement of packaging design and the expansion of business-to-business recycling as key opportunities. “It is time for many businesses to do more to reduce the impact of their packaging and improve its recoverability,” Foley said.  

The need for a whole of packaging system approach to overcoming barriers to progress has also been identified. “The task at hand is much bigger than any one business. Collaboration and cooperation across the packaging industry, government, waste and recycling sectors is needed to drive change” according to Foley.  

The report outlines four key findings: 

  1. While the 2025 Targets are driving a transformation in packaging in Australia, they are not on track to be met by 2025. 
  2. Longer-term vision is needed to guide action. 
  3. Collaboration is needed across the entire packaging system. 
  4. Strong and coordinated interventions are needed on essential packaging material streams. 

The report also prioritises actions needed across the supply chain to drive effective, whole-of-system movement towards a circular economy for packaging. It also clearly identifies those responsible at each step. 

Foley continued: “APCO is focusing its resources on helping businesses and bringing the entire system together to close the gap on Targets for the benefit of the environment, the community and the economy. If industry cannot do better as a whole, governments will pursue harder regulation. 

“It is clear a stronger co-regulatory framework that brings in and aligns the entire packaging system and creates an even playing field for all will help to further reduce environmental impacts and deliver community and economic benefits. 

“The review of the co-regulatory framework underway at the moment is an opportunity to reset. This is a once in 25-year opportunity to help strengthen compliance, protect public interest and ensure accountability across the packaging system while supporting innovation, competition and investment.” 

Recommendations delivered as part of the co-regulatory review that could form part of a new, stronger co-regulatory framework include centralised oversight and increased participation across the system, actions to reduce free riders, and stronger integration of design standards. 

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