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Publications archive - Waste and recycling

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Cover of National Packaging Covenant: A commitment to the sustainable manufacture, use and recovery of packaging

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National Packaging Covenant

A commitment to the sustainable manufacture, use and recovery of packaging
National Packaging Covenant Council,
Department of the Environment and Heritage, July 2005

PDF file

About this document

At its November 1996 meeting, the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, now the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) directed its Standing Committee to commence negotiations, encompassing local government and all parts of the packaging supply chain, on a national packaging agreement based on the principle of shared responsibility.

The agreement was also to address the question of the distribution of responsibilities and costs, and aim to secure the kerbside recycling system. The National Packaging Covenant (Covenant) was the result of these negotiations and commenced in July 1999.

The Covenant is the voluntary component of a co-regulatory arrangement for managing the environmental impacts of consumer packaging in Australia. It is an agreement 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 Environmental Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure (NEPM), designed to deal with free riders and non-signatories and applied at the jurisdictional level.

The Covenant and the NEPM expired in July 2005. The Covenant was extensively reviewed in 2004 and revised in response to the findings of the evaluations and a general agreement by all stakeholders that the model needed to be significantly strengthened if it was to continue. This Covenant incorporates the changes made to achieve substantially improved performance.

The Covenant is designed to minimise the environmental impacts arising from the disposal of used packaging, conserve resources through better design and production processes and facilitate the re-use and recycling of used packaging materials.

The Covenant establishes a framework for the effective life cycle management of consumer packaging and paper products that will be delivered through a collaborative approach between all sectors of the packaging supply chain, consumers, collectors, reprocessors and all spheres of government.

The Covenant acknowledges the significant investment made by all stakeholders to date, and enshrines the responsibilities of all relevant stakeholders within this collaborative approach.

Of particular importance are:

All signatories to the Covenant recognise that a co-operative approach between industry and all spheres of government is essential to achieving national consistency in the lifecycle management of packaging and paper and the implementation of sustainable materials recovery systems.

See also