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The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) this week published Packaging waste collection and processing options in remote and regional areas, a report exploring the challenges faced in managing packaging and plastic waste in remote and regional areas of Australia.

The report examines the waste management facilities available in areas outside of Australia’s major cities, home to approximately 28.7 per cent of the population. These regions comprise a diverse range of environments ranging from very remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory to islands in Queensland.

Drawing on consultation with a wide range of people about their experiences, challenges, priorities, and ideas, the paper lists for the first time the existing programs, technologies, and pilot projects currently being implemented to collect, transport, and process packaging and plastic waste in remote and regional areas. These include actions by all levels of government, product stewardship schemes, and community organisations.

The paper also explores some of the singular challenges that communities in these regions experience. It identifies 22 opportunities for improvement across capability development, waste collection, transportation, recycling, and end markets.

Assistant minister for waste reduction and environmental management Trevor Evans said providing better access to waste collection and recycling services for the nearly 2.5 million people living in outer regional, remote, and very remote areas is a priority for the government.

“I am delighted that as part of its work, APCO has produced this report which identifies specific opportunities to improve how packaging waste is managed and recycled in remote and regional areas,” Evans said.

“This report is the first step in understanding how we can build partnerships with multiple stakeholders to improve waste collection and recycling services in regional and remote areas. The report will be key to informing future solutions and investments.”

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said collaboration is critical to managing the waste stream in remote and regional communities.

“Whether it’s the tyranny of distance or building economies of scale, product stewardship in Australia’s remote and regional communities is a complex topic that contains a number of unique challenges. Wherever you live in this big, beautiful land, every Australian should have the right to the same services and expect the same level of consideration and assistance to access those services,” Donnelly said.

“The aim of this report is to really kick-start that process, helping to bridge the knowledge and skill sharing between different communities so professionals across the country can learn from each other and help to bring equity in this space to all Australians.”

Packaging waste collection and processing options in remote and regional areas is part of the program of work APCO is delivering in partnership with government to meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets and to deliver on the commitments outlined in the National Waste Policy Action Plan.

Download Packaging waste collection and processing options in remote and regional areas here.

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