Packaging and Labeling in Australia

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April 30, 2010
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Last Updated: May 5, 2009
Report Contents
-   Full Report
-   Laws & Regulations
-   Contacts
-   Revision History


The National Packaging Covenant has been the leading instrument for managing the environmental impacts of consumer packaging in Australia since 1999. It is the voluntary component of a co-regulatory arrangement based on the principles of shared responsibility through product stewardship, between key stakeholders in the packaging supply chain and all spheres of government - Australian, State, Territory and Local. The regulatory underpinning is provided by the National Environment Protection Measure on Used Packaging Materials (NEPM), designed to deal with free riders and non-signatories. It is enforced at the State and Territory level.
The implementation of the National Packaging Covenant has been based on the following key components:

  • The adoption of product stewardship policies and practices by all participants in the packaging supply chain that contribute to the minimisation of the environmental impacts of consumer packaging within their individual spheres of influence, the optimization of packaging to balance resource efficiency and maximise resource re-utilisation and where applicable and sustainable, the provision of used packaging and paper recovery systems;
  • The implementation of the NEPM by relevant jurisdictions as the cornerstone of the co-regulatory framework;
  • The provision of services for domestic and, where applicable and sustainable, other used packaging and paper recovery systems by local government.
The first Packaging Covenant, which was agreed in 1999, expired in July 2005. In 2005, after an extensive review process, the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (made up of all Federal, State and Territory Environment Ministers) agreed to the proposal for a strengthened Covenant for a term of another five years. The new revised version of the Covenant commenced on 15 July 2005 and commits signatories to a national recycling target of 65% for packaging and no further increases in packaging waste disposed to landfill by the end of 2010. Sub-targets for paper & cardboard, glass, steel, aluminium and plastics are also included. The new covenant expires on 30 June 2010.

The Covenant signatories had to re-sign the new Covenant or signal their intention of doing so by 30 September 2005.


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