Packaging Revolution: Australia's New Regulations to Tackle Plastic Waste
In 2018, the Australian Environment Ministers set a ‘2025 National Packaging Targets’ to address the mounting plastic waste crisis in the packaging industry. These targets encompass: by 2025;
100% of packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable
70% of plastic packaging will be recycled and composted
there will be an average of 50% recycled content in packaging
problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging will be phased out
While these targets demonstrate Australia's determination to combat plastic waste, concerns have arisen regarding the nation's ability to meet these goals. A meeting held between Australia's federal and state ministers on 9 June, 2023, acknowledged the urgency to get Australia back on track.
An agreed communiqué was released revealing an introduction of the nation's first-ever mandatory packaging regulatory scheme for manufacturers and retailers. This step is crucial to ensure that the set targets are achieved.
The newly implemented regulations are designed to minimise packaging waste by prioritising recovery, reuse, recycling and reprocessing. By promoting sustainable packaging designs, the government aims to further the circular economy, reducing waste and preserving resources. This shift will require collaboration between various stakeholders, including manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, to ensure the effective implementation of these rules.
Plastic waste is a global concern, and Australia is taking meaningful steps to mitigate its impact through practical and legislated strategies. Addressing this complex issue requires ongoing commitment and collaboration from all sectors of society, so that we can create a sustainable and resilient world, that is free from the burdens of plastic waste.