Reforms to Australia’s packaging co-regulatory framework
The reform of the regulation of packaging by 2025, will ensure that all packaging available in Australia is designed to be recovered, reused, recycled and reprocessed safely in line with circular economy principles.
Australia has a mandatory national co-regulatory framework that was established in 1999 to reduce the environmental impacts of packaging and increase recycling rates. A 2021 independent legislative review of the framework found that reform is needed to improve environmental outcomes for packaging.
In 2022, all Australia's environment ministers agreed to reform the regulation of packaging by 2025, to ensure that all packaging available in Australia is designed to be recovered, reused, recycled and reprocessed safely in line with circular economy principles.
Reforming the co-regulatory framework provides an opportunity to accelerate material circularity for all packaging placed on the Australian market. Reforms will shift the focus of regulation from the downstream recovery and recycling of packaging to a design-focused goal, placing mandatory obligations on brand owners to ensure all the packaging materials and products they place on the market are designed and produced sustainably so they can be recovered, reused, recycled and reprocessed.
A modernised, fit-for-purpose regulatory framework will put greater emphasis on product design and manufacture, supporting Australia to increase packaging recycling rates, reduce environmental impacts and ensure domestic actions to transition to a circular packaging economy are aligned with international initiatives.