WMAA Response to Australasian Recycling Label and APCO recycling targets

26 September 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA), the peak body for the $15.5 billion waste and resource recovery industry, welcomes the newly announced Australasian Recycling Label, however points out that it is a missed opportunity.

“In real terms, the label needs to solve two problems; it needs to tell consumers how they can dispose of the waste, and if the packaging is made from recycled product,” says Ms Gayle Sloan, CEO of WMAA.

“This label does neither and industry believes that this label will not help hit the targets set by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).”

Not only has APCO failed to take on any of the feedback that industry associations, including WMAA (WMAA's submission can be found here) and the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR), provided during the closed door consultation of the Towards 2025 paper, no industry body was represented at the launch of what APCO has called “a milestone industry event”. APCO is attempting to operate outside of its remit and continues to insist on working on industry issues without industries input.

“While WMAA congratulates many national organisations for agreeing to the targets set by APCO, without regulatory levers, the Australasian Recycling Label will fail to achieve the targets set,” said Ms Sloan.

APCO’s current operating model, being co-regulatory, is too limited a system to achieve the 2025 goals and the industry deems APCO powerless to drive real change. What is needed is an extended producer responsibility scheme, which APCO in its current form, is not.

“What APCO and Government need to understand is that setting targets without having a roadmap to achieve them is nonsensical,” said Ms Sloan.

“Having a plan that not only addresses the targets that need to be achieved but also mandates the use of recycled content is the only way we can truly move forward.”