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Guide: how to get more recycled content into packaging

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has published the Recycled Content Guide, a practical new resource to support Australian organisations to use more recycled content in their packaging.

Developed to support the growing number of businesses redesigning their packaging to meet Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets, the guide provides clear and practical information about how to incorporate recycled content into packaging.

Designed to support businesses at all stages of the recycled content journey, the guide provides an introductory approach to recycled content, including:

  • What recycled content is
  • Why the use of recycled content is important
  • The environmental benefits of recycled content
  • An exploration of the current barriers to using recycled content and how to overcome them
  • Practical steps for businesses to use more recycled content.

In addition, the guide provides a detailed look at each material stream, exploring the applications, performance and appearance of recycled content for a range of packaging material types. The materials covered in the document include – PET; HDPE; PP; flexible plastics; other plastics (including polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride and nylon); paper and paperboard; glass and metals – aluminium and steel.

The document also provides a nine-step checklist for businesses to follow to support them on the journey to successfully using recycled content.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO, APCO, said: “No material is truly recycled until it has been used again, so in order to achieve a circular economy for packaging it is vital that we work to increase the use of recycled content. With more and more businesses working hard to achieve the 2025 National Packaging Targets, including the target of 50 per cent of average recycled content in packaging, clear guidance on what they need to do is so important – which is what this publication offers.”

Richard Smith, director of sustainability, Amcor, said: “It is crucial for our environment that we become much more circular and incorporate recycled plastic feedstocks into our plastic packaging. At Amcor, we believe responsible packaging begins with good design, and so the Recycled Content Guide will be an invaluable document for everyone in the value chain to ensure we achieve our 2025 National Packaging Targets.”

Nerida Kelton MAIP, executive director, Australian Institute of Packaging, said: The Recycled Content Guide is a positive step to ensure that everyone understands the important role that Recycled Content plays to not only meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets, but to ensure circularity of packaging design and to lower the environmental impact of packaging across the entire value chain.

“Following the release of this guide, the AIP is busy preparing a new ‘Understanding the value of Recycled Content to your business‘ training course that will help guide all sized businesses to take the next steps to improve their sustainable and circular packaging design. We look forward to seeing more businesses incorporate Recycled Content into their packaging and encourage everyone to start by reading the new guide.”

Throughout 2021, APCO will continue to produce a range of resources to help Australian industries meet the 2025 National Packaging Target of 50% of average recycled content included in packaging. The Recycled Content Guide follows the recently released “Recovered Polymer Specifications” document, which provides a set of standard specifications for recycled materials suitable for manufacture into packaging. In the coming months, APCO will also launch the industry phase of the new Recycled Content Labelling Program to the Australian market, providing clear on-pack evidence of the use of recycled content