Since the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), Planet Ark, and PREP Design launched the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) in Melbourne in September 2018, more than 469 organisations have joined the labelling scheme. And now, the search is on for the 500th member.

Tens of thousands of products already carry the label in the market. A recent study by the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) found 23 per cent of products surveyed featured the ARL.

The programme has seen strong uptake within supermarkets in Australia and has also welcomed a host of new members, including Super Retail Group, Kmart, Goodman Fielder, SingTel Optus, Saputo Dairy, Chobani, Natures Organics, The Smith's Snackfood Company Pty Ltd & Sakata Rice Snacks Australia, Kellogg’s, Mondelez, Fonterra, and many others.

Now to celebrate the programme’s milestone anniversary, the ARL team is calling on new businesses to get involved and become the ARL’s 500th member.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO, APCO said: “I am incredibly proud of the hard work and leadership shown by Australian industry over the last two years to incorporate the ARL on their packaging and achieve so much in such a short time. To celebrate this important milestone, we are calling on everyone to help us find our 500th ARL programme member. If you want to see more businesses using the ARL on their packaging, now is a great chance to reach out and encourage them to join the ARL community!”

Paul Klymenko, CEO, Planet Ark said: “We know over 60 per cent of Australians expect brands to tell them how to dispose of their packaging, so it is gratifying to see the tremendous support for the ARL by companies since we launched it. I would like to thank them and look forward to even more companies getting on board over the next year to meet the vital need for clear on-pack consumer recycling information.”

Australia’s business community has also shown its support for the ARL on its second birthday.

Nestlé Australia CEO Sandra Martinez said: “Consumers have good intentions when it comes to recycling but we know they need clear information that tells them exactly what to do – and we have an important role to play in providing this. We’re committed to featuring the ARL on-pack and will have it on most of our locally made products by the end of the year.

“As well, we’ve been rolling out a number of initiatives to further educate consumers. From PR and influencer campaigns to promote the ARL, through to bold front-of-pack recycling reminders by our brands, we’re looking at how we can help to remove any recycling confusion, and help consumers to remember to recycle – and recycle right.”

Nicole Sparshott, Unilever Australia and New Zealand CEO said: “As a founding signatory of the Australasian Recycling Label we are really excited that nearly a quarter of all products on supermarket shelves now contain the label. At Unilever, we believe that packaging has its place, but that place is not in the environment. By educating consumers how to recycle correctly we can create behaviour change at scale and significantly reduce the amount of packaging waste. Key to achieving this is making sure Australia has a clear, consistent and evidence-based label on every product and packaging type which is why the ARL is so valuable and we encourage other organisations to join the program.”

Coles’ general manager Own Brand, quality and responsible sourcing, Brad Cook said as a business committed to driving generational sustainability, the company was proud to be an active member of APCO, and display the ARL on many Own Brand products.

“The ARL is now displayed on over 2,200 Own Brand products, and this number will continue to grow as we update packaging and launch new products. It is a great way to clearly communicate with our customers how they can recycle each component of our Own Brand packaging,” Cook said.

Looking ahead, the ARL programme will continue to expand and evolve. In October, APCO will be launching a new two-year national consumer education campaign to improve packaging sustainability awareness and behaviour. The Check It! Before You Chuck It campaign will aim to improve recycling behaviours by encouraging all Australians to look for the ARL every time they are at the bin. The high-profile campaign will feature a cast of new characters and a catchy song to be used in advertising across Australia. In 2021, the ARL programme will also expand to communicate new information, including the volume of recycled content contained in packaging and reusable packaging formats.

Check It! Before You Chuck It will launch on 12 October.

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