Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans has welcomed the decision by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to move to pursue accreditation under the federal government’s revamped product stewardship legislation.

Accreditation gives companies and organisations a government-backed tick of approval to show they are helping drive circular economy outcomes for all Australians.

If approved, APCO will become one of the first Australian organisations to be accredited under the modernised product stewardship scheme.

This will give greater transparency to the efforts of Australian packaging companies to increase the amount of packaging that is recycled and the amount of recycled content used in new packaging in the future.

Evans said consumers expect action on plastic packaging, and the government is looking at all options to ensure the 2025 National Packaging Targets are met.

“The government has made important changes to accreditation in its new waste and recycling legislation which is currently before Parliament,” Evans said.

“Once this legislation is passed, more companies will be able to apply for this tick of approval and use the official product stewardship logo, helping them market their products to environmentally conscious consumers.”

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said the proposed new accreditation system will provide a powerful opportunity to promote robust and accountable product stewardship practices here in Australia.

“As Australia’s largest and most effective product stewardship organisation, we welcome the opportunity to further progress the positive environmental, social and economic outcomes driven by the collective impact program delivered by APCO,” Donnelly said.

The government’s new waste and recycling legislation also allows the minister to call out businesses letting Australians down by not participating in accredited or voluntary schemes.

Equally importantly, the minister will also be able to highlight companies and schemes that are achieving positive outcomes and working to strongly reduce Australia’s overall waste footprint.

This decision by APCO to move to pursue accreditation under the revamped product stewardship legislation is another critical step in meeting Australia’s ambitious packaging targets by 2025, comprising:

  • The phase-out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics packaging.
  • 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging.
  • 70 per cent of plastic packaging being recycled or composted.
  • 50 per cent of average recycled content included in packaging.

This new recycling and product stewardship legislation is part of the government’s action to drive a $1bn transformation of the waste and recycling industry to collect, recycle, reuse, and convert waste into a resource.

More than 100 applications have been received for the $20m Product Stewardship Investment Fund, which will result in dozens of new and improved national product stewardship schemes across Australia. The government also said it would release a National Plastics Plan before the end of this year.

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