New recycling label launched to combat customer confusion

Raphael Geminder, Chair, Pact Group and the Hon Melissa Price, Minister for the EnvironmentMinister for the Environment, The Hon. Melissa Price, today launched the Australasian Recycling Label and announced the government’s National Recycling Targets at a milestone industry event in Melbourne.

The Minister was joined by leaders from packaging, retail, manufacturing, recycling and waste management businesses in a pledge to better manage packaging waste and improving recycling in Australia.

Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets include making all of Australia’s packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable and for 70 per cent of plastic packaging to be recycled or composted by 2025.

Unnecessary single-use plastic packaging will be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives and 30 per cent of average recycled content will be included across all packaging by 2025.

Minister Price congratulated the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), Woolworths and the initial working group of key business leaders including Coca-Cola Amatil, Goodman Fielder, Nestlé, Pact Group, Simplot and Unilever in tackling Australia’s waste challenges and supporting these ambitious targets.

Australasian Recycling Label

The new labelling system was developed by Planet Ark, PREP Design and APCO to help consumers better understand how to recycle packaging. With more than 200 recycling labels currently being used in Australian packaging, the new system is designed to combat confusion and reduce the levels of contamination in the waste stream.

In a statement today the Minister said she was “delighted” at the response of Australian businesses to the recycling challenges. To date more than 50 Australian businesses have committed to the program, with the label now being used by brands including Woolworths, Nestlé, Blackmores and Unilever.

“The Australasian Recycling Label provides people with easy to understand recycling information when they need it most, in those few seconds when they are deciding what bin the package goes in. The label removes confusion and reduces waste,” Price said.

Toward 2025 - Panel Discussion

Unilever ANZ CEO Clive Stiff welcomed the recycling initiatives in a statement today, saying it is a “critical step towards greater collective action” on recycling.

“As a consumer goods company, we are acutely aware of the consequences of a linear take-make-dispose model and we want to change it,” Stiff said.

The FMCG giant recently announced that bottles of its popular products like Dove, Sunsilk and Surf will soon be made with at least 25% Australian recycled plastic.

Stiff said this is “just the start” for Unilever and that “heavy lifting” is required by everyone from suppliers to packaging converters, brand owners and retailers.

“We need a complete shift in how we think about and use resources. Plastic packaging waste represents an $80 billion loss to the global economy every year. The benefits of the circular economy approach are clear for business and the environment – the more effective use of materials means lower costs and less waste. It means new sources of value for customers and consumers, better risk management of raw materials, and improved approaches to the supply chain,” he said.

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