AFGC welcomes packaging design standards

Monday, 13 November, 2023

AFGC welcomes packaging design standards

Australia’s environment ministers met in Adelaide on 10 November and agreed that the federal government will become the new regulator of packaging standards. It will mandate how packaging is designed, will set minimum recycled content requirements and prohibit harmful chemicals being used.

Australia’s new federal national packaging laws will be designed to provide regulatory certainty and consistency, and make businesses responsible for their packaging on the Australian market. The ministers agreed to include a national traceability framework which will be designed to provide certainty to users of recycled content that the material they are using is free of hidden harmful chemicals or contaminants, as well as where that material has been sourced from — whether Australia or overseas. It was agreed that a product stewardship framework will be used to better coordinate work across governments, and if voluntary product stewardship don’t work, government will regulate.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council has welcomed the announcement from environment ministers around design standards for packaging and a focus on traceability.

The announcement is fundamental for a closed loop on packaging, particularly soft plastics in Australia. A circular economy means all sections of the supply chain need to collaborate and move forward together.

Any increase in the use of recycled content relies on collection and processing of that material in Australia. For a circular economy, it is essential to implement mandatory design standards and a recycling system to process the material Australians collect at home. Traceability of recycling materials will provide confidence for Australians to recycle, for brands to procure recycled content and for the broader supply chain to invest in recycling infrastructure.

A circular economy for soft plastics is an opportunity for Australia economically and environmentally. In its statement, AFGC said it looks forward to being part of the solution and continuing to collaborate with the supply chain to reduce landfill, create jobs and close the loop on soft plastics.

On behalf of the food and grocery industry, AFGC congratulated the ministers on the step forward and looks forward to more progress in months to come.

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