Scale of packaging mess revealed

In an unsurprising but nevertheless disturbing revelation, the Australian Packaging Covenant (APCO) has admitted today the national 2025 recycling and recycled content targets won’t be met. The blame squarely falls on the packaging sector which lacked commitment and investment under the 20 years of voluntary arrangements.

There have been failures across the board. Lack of action on redesign of products, new reprocessing capacity and collection infrastructure has led to a dismal outcome. Millions of tonnes of plastic, paper and cardboard are not being recycled and instead ending up in landfill.

If there is one thing we agree with APCO on, it’s that we need a systemic change across the entire product chain from product design to end destination to create a circular economy. This will only be achieved by mandating the targets, with industry funding and strong regulation, including penalties. Any push to change the targets to a later date must also be resisted – that will just demotivate those business that are pressing ahead and cause more environmental damage.

APCO are making a "call to action". It’s never too late, but the packaging sector’s prior greenwash and ineffectual behaviour has made the task all the harder. Boomerang Alliance and its allies will be keeping up the pressure on the sector and government to bring in mandatory arrangements.

The 2025 targets: