Commonwealth Government promises a mandatory product stewardship scheme for 2025
In a historic agreement, Australia’s Environment Ministers have committed to mandatory packaging targets which, if properly designed and implemented could transform Australia's packaging landscape.
For the first time packaging producers will be required to meet set targets. Previously targets were voluntary and were never met. The Boomerang Alliance will be advocating for a scheme that ensures that new mandatory rules, making producers responsible for better design and all associated costs for the collection, transport and recovery -- including litter clean ups - are part of the new scheme.
Soft plastics now predominantly going to landfill, will need to be part of these new arrangements.
Looking beyond our shores to Europe and the UK, we know that mandatory targets are effective in speeding up industry transformation. Mandatory rules ensure a level playing field and create clear expectations. The onus will be on the businesses responsible for producing packaging to take responsibility for their waste.
But we know the devil is in the detail yet to be worked out. We expect significant industry pushback on setting strict targets and timelines.
That's why we will be putting forward a world leading stewardship model that will see Australia realise and go beyond the current voluntary packaging targets.
Importantly, we want to see a much greater focus on reducing our plastic consumption overall and national commitments to avoid all packaging that is problematic for human health and our environment. We are also advocating for the introduction of a minimum 30% reusable packaging target by 2030.
Our proposed stewardship model will be shared with allies, supporters, governments and industry stakeholders in due course.
Stay tuned on ways to support next steps.
Currently, Australia is the largest consumer of single use plastics next to Singapore. The latest figures show that only 18% of plastics are currently being recycled and only 4% of plastic packaging contains recycled content. The REDcycle collapse has highlighted the ineffectiveness of current arrangements and exposed the fact that other single use plastic packaging recovery rates are embarrassingly low and will miss agreed targets. Virtually all 450,000 tonnes of soft plastics generated in Australia each year are currently destined for landfill. It is obvious that we cannot just recycle our way out of this.
2025 National Targets. Latest data from APCO (graphic adapted to reference plastic recycled content target and plastic phase out reduction). Please note that reusability, compostability or recyclability does not mean products are recovered in practice.