What is the Australian Packaging Covenant
The Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) is a sustainable packaging initiative which aims to change the culture of business to design more sustainable packaging, increase recycling rates and reduce packaging litter.
It is an agreement between government and industry to find and fund solutions to address packaging sustainability issues. Through the APC, industry agrees to take a leading role in managing the impact of its packaging.
Organisations sign the Covenant to signal their commitment to:
- Design packaging that is more resource efficient and more recyclable
- Increase the recovery and recycling of used packaging from households and away-from home sources
- Take action to reduce the incidence and impacts of litter
A community that manufactures, uses, distributes and recovers packaging materials in a sustainable way.
To provide a system through which users of packaging material and participants in the supply chain can voluntarily demonstrate leadership in:
- Sustainable packaging design
- Recovery and recycling of used packaging materials resulting in reduced waste and litter
- The engagement of all participants in the supply chain in the sustainable use of packaging materials.
- Design – packaging optimised to achieve resource efficiency and reduced environmental impact without compromising product quality and safety.
- Recycling – the efficient collection and recycling of packaging.
- Product Stewardship – a demonstrated commitment to product stewardship by the supply chain and other signatories.
Regulation of packaging waste
To help minimise the environmental impacts of packaging, governments require that brand owners with a turnover larger than $5million either sign the APC or comply with the National Environmental Protection Measure (Used Packaging Materials) 2011.
Each State implements the NEPM through its own regulations.
- Acknowledges that packaging is necessary
- Adopts a lifecycle approach
- Provides industry with tools to design sustainable packaging
- Requires industry to take accountable actions which lead to positive environmental outcomes
- Funds initiatives which increase recycling and reduce litter