Australian Packaging Covenant

Australian Environment Ministers have endorsed the Australian Packaging Covenant, which commenced on 1 July 2010. Over the next five years the Australian Packaging Covenant will target improved design, away-from-home recycling, litter and product stewardship by all parties in the packaging chain. The Covenant is a key national mechanism for implementing Strategy 3 of the National Waste Policy - better management of packaging to improve the use of resources, reduce the environmental impact of packaging design, enhance away from home recycling and reduce litter.

National Packaging Covenant

Detailed information on the Australian Packaging Covenant, including signatories, action plans, project funding and up-to-date news can be found at: 

What is the Australian Packaging Covenant?

The Australian Packaging Covenant (the Covenant) is the third iteration of the National Packaging Covenant, which has been the leading instrument for managing the environmental impacts of packaging in Australia since 1999. It is the voluntary component of a coregulatory arrangement based on the principle 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 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 delivered through a collaborative approach between all sectors of the packaging supply chain, consumers, collectors, reprocessors and all spheres of government.

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 and applied at the jurisdictional level. Information on NEPM development and implementation is available on the National Environment Protection Council website and from State Government Environment Agencies.

The Australian Government's role

The Australian Government has been a Covenant signatory since 1999 and fully supports the Covenant principles of shared responsibility and lifecycle management of packaging and paper.

The Government recognises that a cooperative approach is essential to achieving national consistency in the life cycle management of packaging and paper and the implementation of sustainable kerbside collection systems.

Australian Packaging Covenant Action Plan and Annual Reports

As a signatory, the Australian Government has developed a set of actions it intends to take to implement its Covenant responsibilities. These actions are outlined in the Australian Government's Australian Packaging Covenant Action Plan 2010-2015 together with the key performance indicators. This action plan builds on activities undertaken under the previous National Packaging Covenant and aims to make government operations more sustainable and drive a culture of sustainability in Australia. The Australian Government reports annually to the Covenant on progress against its action plan.