ALL of Australia’s packaging will be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 thanks to a new target endorsed by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.
Mr Dawson met with environment ministers around Australia last week at the seventh annual Meeting of Environment Ministers and agreed on a number of targets to reduce the amount of packaging going into landfill and increase the amount that could be recycled, following import restrictions announced by China.
Governments will work with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), representing more than 900 leading companies, to deliver this target.
Mr Dawson said the targets would mean less greenhouse gas emissions, less litter and fewer demands on finite raw materials.
“The targets send a strong signal to industry that the community, and State and Federal government expect industry to significantly reduce their environmental footprint in relation to packaging,” he said.
“The targets are consistent with the waste hierarchy. Ministers agreed to reduce waste or avoid the amount of packaging waste generated.”
Mr Dawson said the governments would work closely with industry to deliver this target, including a WA Waste Taskforce.
“I have established a Waste Taskforce in WA to address local recycling market issues and opportunities arising from the China Sword policy,” he said.
“The work of the Taskforce will complement emerging national approaches.”
Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation chief executive Brooke Donnelly said the target was a win for the environment and showed aspirational leadership.
“This is a huge win for Australia and the environment. This is one of the most ambitious and decisive environmental targets to be supported in Australia, and it’s our opportunity to make meaningful and lasting change,” he said.
“I think some people haven’t fully thought through the implications of having every single environment minister coming together to endorse this target – this kind of aspirational leadership, this kind of collaboration and cohesiveness – that has never happened before.”
Ms Donnelly said consumer education was important to drive change.
“One of the key areas in which government can provide support is in the area of consumer education and ensuring that the public has access to accurate and consistent information through initiatives such as the APCO packing recycling label,” she said.
Environment ministers will meet later this year to further progress delivery of the commitments.