Australia Struggles to Keep Up With Packaging Targets: APCO 

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Despite Australia’s ongoing commitment to reducing plastic waste, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is discovering that the nation still has a long way to go to meet its packaging targets.

APCO has reviewed the 2025 National Packaging Targets and urges for a more robust co-regulatory framework involving industry-led initiatives and effective government regulation.

APCO’s CEO, Chris Foley, expressed disappointment that not all targets will be met despite the significant contributions made by many businesses.

“Although many businesses have made great contributions, it is disheartening to see that not all targets will be met based on the headline data,” Foley said.

Many APCO members have reported taking significant steps towards transitioning to a circular economy for packaging, with the 2025 targets serving as an effective motivator.

Although specific actions have been taken, the report highlights the necessity for further enhancement of packaging design and the advancement of recycling between businesses as significant possibilities.

“Many businesses should take steps to reduce the impact of their packaging and make it more easily recoverable,” Foley said.

It has been recognised that a comprehensive packaging system approach is necessary for removing obstacles to progress.

“To drive change, the packaging industry, government, and waste and recycling sectors must collaborate and cooperate as the task is very significant,” Foley said.

The report presents four main discoveries.

  • The packaging transformation targets set for Australia in 2025 still need to be met.
  • To guide action, it is necessary to have a vision that extends over a longer period.
  • Collaboration is essential throughout the whole packaging system.
  • Solid and coordinated efforts are needed to manage the streams of crucial packaging materials.

The report outlines the necessary steps to achieve a circular economy for packaging throughout the entire supply chain and identifies the responsible parties at each stage.

“APCO is working towards meeting environmental, community, and economic goals by assisting businesses and unifying the system,” Foley said. “If the industry doesn’t improve collectively, governments will implement stricter regulations.”

“A stronger co-regulatory framework that involves and aligns the entire packaging system can create fair competition and reduce environmental impacts while bringing benefits to the community and economy.”

Ultimately, APCO is committed to helping Australia reach its packaging targets and achieve a circular economy for packaging. Overcoming the current challenges through collaboration, innovation, and cooperation creates long-term sustainable solutions. By working together across sectors, we can ensure that future generations can access a healthier environment.

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