The Boomerang Alliance is challenging the packaging industry to take full responsibility and pay for the costs of its waste and pollution decisions.
Ahead of the Commonwealth Government promising to introduce a Mandatory Product Stewardship Scheme for Packaging by 2025, we have released our model guidelines based on International best practice.
These include stringent Extended Producer Responsibility requirements where product manufacturers take full responsibility for their products, from the design stage through to end of life. This allows for products to be collected, recovered and reused rather than being littered or discarded in landfill.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY APPROACH
We demand a circular economy approach to packaging which involves the whole supply chain, with producers directly accountable for meeting stringent reduction, recovery and recycled content targets.
National actions required to achieve a best practice circular economy for packaging:
AUSTRALIA'S SOFT PLASTICS REFORM
The soft plastics collection crisis, following the REDcycle collapse, is an example of an industry currently failing to take responsibility for its own packaging waste.
Given Australia’s alarmingly low national plastic packaging recycling rates (approx. 12%), major reform is urgently required and must include extended producer responsibility principles, similar to what is being applied to container refund schemes.
Container refund schemes are now active across Australia, where producers (the beverage industry) are responsible for the full costs associated with the recovery of their products and 60-80% of containers are now being collected for recycling, with some room for improvement.
In Europe, producers will have to cover the costs of collecting, transporting and treating problem plastics from 2024. The same should be happening in Australia.
10 GUIDING PRINCIPLES
We have identified 10 key principles that need to be included in Australia's mandated national product stewardship scheme.
- Prioritising Avoidance and Reduction
- Best Practice Eco-Design of Products
- Mandated Standards
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) across Whole of Life Cycle & Supply Chain
- Mandatory National Targets and Obligations
- Development of Secondary Markets
- A national scheme managed under Commonwealth legislation
- A standardised monitoring, compliance, and enforcement regime
- Commitment to continuous improvement
- Consumer Education and Awareness
In addition to full producer responsibility, packaging standards must include the requirement that packaging is actually recovered in practice. The standards cover packaging that is reusable, compostable or recyclable. The current Australian Recycling Label (ARL), for example, does not require packaging to be recycled in practice, with the result that most plastic packaging goes to landfill.
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- MEDIA RELEASE >> 22 Sep 23: National Packaging Solution: Producers mandated to take full responsibility for waste & pollution
- IN THE NEWS >> ABC, 17 Sep 23: Plastic packaging overhaul leaves supermarkets scrambling and customers hopeful of change