• Source: APCO
    Source: APCO

Though plastic is a challenge, the race to reach the 2025 National Packaging Targets is well underway, according to the newest APCO report.

Australian Packaging Consumption and Resource Recovery Data, which outlines the flow of packaging in the Australian resource recovery system, found that 35 per cent of all packaging is post-consumer recycled content – a total of 1.9 million tonnes, more than the 30 per cent target set in September for 2025. APCO will now consult with industry on a more ambitious target.

Additionally, 4.7 million tonnes, or 86 per cent, of all packaging in Australia is reusable, recyclable, or compostable, with the goal of 100 per cent by 2025. Plastic, however, was identified as the biggest challenge – only 16 per cent of plastic packaging is being recycled or composted, which so far falls well short of the 2025 target of 70 per cent.

The packaging material with the highest recovery rate is paper and paperboard at 63 per cent, followed by metal at 48 per cent, and glass at 46 per cent.

Source: APCO
Source: APCO

According to Brooke Donnelly, CEO of APCO, the report uses data from packaging manufacturers and reprocessors; material recovery facilities; container deposit scheme operators; and imports and exports.

“Comprehensive and robust benchmarking data is one of the critical milestones in our delivery of the 2025 National Packaging Targets – a process that shows how Australia is performing currently and, most importantly, what needs to change in order to make the 2025 Targets a reality.

“It’s encouraging to see such a significant majority of packaging – 86 per cent – is able to be recycled in the current system. However, what the data confirms for us is that plastic is the critical issue that needs to be addressed,” she said.

February will see the launch of APCO’s 2025 strategic document, which will set out a number of key strategies for deliveries of the targets.

“Plastics will be a central focus for this plan, along with a range of interventions and recommendations designed to close the gap between recyclable (86 per cent) and recycled (49 per cent) packaging in Australia.

“We currently have more than 1500 organisations, representing the complete supply chain, actively working to deliver the National Packaging Targets. To find out how you can be part of the community driving the change towards a more sustainable approach to packaging in Australia, get in touch with APCO today,” said Donnelly.

5.45 million tonnes of packaging was placed on market in 2017-18, including 53.2 per cent paper and paperboard; 23.3 per cent glass; 19.6 per cent plastic; and 3.9 per cent metal.

Source: APCO
Source: APCO

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