The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has announced a schedule of 23 priority projects for the 2020-21 financial year. APCO developed the list to drive targeted progress towards the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The projects cover priority areas including re-use, recycling, composting, recycled content uptake, and the phase-out of problematic single use plastics.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said the programme of projects had been designed to support Australia’s collective effort in the transition to a circular economy for packaging.

“Over the next year, the APCO working groups will work collaboratively to address these issues and develop a range of strategies, materials and resources to ensure Australia’s supply chain is fully equipped to deliver the 2025 National Packaging Targets,” Donnelly said.

APCO developed the programme in consultation with the organisation’s 2020 Working Groups – a community of 160 participants, representing the entire packaging supply chain. The working groups, comprising National Packaging Targets Implementation, Design, Systems and Education, and Material Circularity, will each be responsible for the delivery of several projects structured across the next 12 months.

APCO working groups will work collaboratively to address these issues and develop a range of strategies, materials and resources to ensure Australia’s supply chain is fully equipped to deliver the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

All projects connect with the strategies outlined in Our Packaging Future, the framework for how Australia will deliver the 2025 targets.

The project schedule was officially launched on Wednesday during the weekly APCO Community Webinar.

The webinar included insights into how different organisations will contribute to and participate in this work – and learnings on progressing your own organisation’s journey to delivering the 2025 Targets. The webinar can be watched again here.

The priority projects are:

  • Reuse roadmap – building an evidence-based business case and strategy for packaging reuse models.
  • Reuse pilot – facilitating collaborative pilot projects to implement reuse in targeted supply chains.
  • Packaging recyclability research – conducting research to inform packaging design for recyclability.
  • Design guidelines – developing four new design guidelines to support Sustainable Packaging Guide implementation.
  • Business-to-business packaging – promoting reduction, reuse, and recycling of business-to-business packaging.
  • Strategies for recycling soft plastics – conducting research and trials to reduce waste and increase recycling of soft plastic packaging
  • Compostable packaging positioning paper – developing a joint positioning paper on compostable packaging with the Australian Bioplastics Association and the Australian Organics Recycling Association.
  • National compostable packaging strategy – developing a national, long-term strategy for compostable packaging with key stakeholders.
  • Recycled content traceability – supporting industry and government confidence in recycled content products and packaging.
  • Specifications for recycled materials – developing a set of standard requirements for recycled materials in packaging, particularly plastics.
  • Recycled content guidelines – developing material-specific guidelines to educate the packaging supply chain on using recycled content.
  • Recycled content labelling – Developing a labelling programme to communicate recycled content
  • Member pledges – Working with members to publicly pledge volumes of recycled materials in packaging.
  • Supporting government procurement – developing resources to support state and local government procurement of recycled content products and packaging.
  • Strategies for problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging – developing an action plan to phase out four priority plastic materials: EPS food and beverage service containers, EPS packaging fill, fragmentable plastics, and lightweight bags.
  • Approaches for non-recyclable packaging – conducting research on the 12 per cent of packaging that is not currently recyclable and developing action plans.
  • Annual material flow analysis – conducting annual measurement of progress towards the National Packaging Targets.
  • Circular economy hub – supporting sustainable packaging data for CE Hub Marketplace.
  • Sector approaches – supporting specific sectors with priority packaging projects
  • Circular plastics recycling initiative – collaborating with key universities to research, develop, and prioritise projects that will drive increased innovation for plastics in the circular economy.
  • The Australasian Recycling Label programme – continuing the ongoing programme, launched in 2018.
  • National Consumer Education for Sustainable Packaging – supporting the programme that aims to deliver a consistent approach to reducing, reusing, and recycling packaging.


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