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Australian Packaging Covenant

Australian Packaging Covenant logo

Australian Packaging Covenant logo

The Australian Packaging Covenant (‘Covenant’) is an agreement between companies in the supply chain and all levels of government to reduce the environmental impacts of consumer packaging. This will be achieved by:

  • designing packaging that is more resource efficient and more recyclable
  • increasing the recovery and recycling of used packaging from households and away from home sources
  • taking action to reduce the incidence and impacts of litter.

The Australian Packaging Covenant replaced the National Packaging Covenant on 1 July 2010, after being endorsed by Ministers at the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC). The original Covenant commenced in 1999, and represented a new approach to the environmental management of packaging in Australia. It established a unique national framework for the life cycle management of packaging, based on a collaborative approach between all sectors of the supply chain and all levels of government.

What is the National Environmental Protection Measure?

While participation in the Covenant is voluntary, brand owners who choose not to become signatories or who fail to comply with the Covenant requirements will be regulated under the National Environmental Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure (NEPM) in each of the states and territories in which the company sells its products.

What are the objectives of the Australian Packaging Covenant?

The Covenant is based on the waste hierarchy: that is, it puts high priority on avoiding and minimising packaging waste, followed by reuse, recycling, recovery and finally, disposal. Signatories to the Covenant acknowledge that packaging has economic and social benefits, which include containing, preserving, protecting, marketing, distributing and branding goods. Packaging also has environmental impacts throughout its life cycle that need to be managed.

Signatories agree to work together to implement and promote the principle of product stewardship for packaging. This means that responsibility for managing the environmental impacts of packaging is shared throughout the supply chain (raw material suppliers, packaging manufacturers and suppliers, brand owners and retailers) and by consumers, waste service providers, recyclers and all levels of government – Australian, state, territory and local.

The objective of the Covenant is to minimise the overall environmental impacts of packaging by pursuing these performance goals:

  1. Design: optimise packaging to use resources efficiently and reduce environmental impact without compromising product quality and safety.
  2. Recycling: efficiently collect and recycle packaging.
  3. Product Stewardship: demonstrate commitment by all signatories.

These goals will be achieved through the collaborative efforts of the Covenant Council and the actions of individual signatories.

Who are signatories to the Australian Packaging Covenant?

Covenant signatories represent more than 80 per cent of all packaged retail brands sold within Australia, with approximately 760 signatories. The Queensland Government is a signatory to the Covenant, which is administered in Queensland by EHP. The Queensland Government Action Plan under the Covenant is available on the Covenant website. To view the Covenant document, and for further information on Covenant signatories, annual reports, and projects, visit the Covenant website at www.packagingcovenant.org.au

What funding is available?

For information about funding rounds, and Australian Packaging Covenant projects and achievements, visit the Covenant website at www.packagingcovenant.org.au.

Current projects include large-scale commercial and industrial recycling, public place recycling, and market development projects for used glass.

Last updated
16 August 2016