It works to ensure optimal resource conservation and recovery of consumer packaging and paper in households and away-from-home premises such as workplaces/commercial premises, industrial premises and public places.
The Australian Packaging Covenant (the Covenant) is a partnership approach between industry, local, state and Commonwealth governments and consumers to ensure optimal resource conservation and recovery of consumer packaging in households and away-from-home premises such as workplaces/commercial premises, industrial premises and public places. It aims to improve the total environmental performance and lifecycle management of consumer packaging by pursuing specific environmentally focused performance goals.
The Covenant's mission is to provide a system through which users of packaging materials and participants in the supply chain can voluntarily demonstrate leadership in:
- sustainable packaging design - optimise packaging to use resources efficiently and reduce environmental impact without compromising product quality and safety
- recovery and recycling of used packaging materials resulting in reduced waste and litter
- the engagement of all participants in the supply chain in the sustainable use of packaging materials - product stewardship is a demonstrated commitment of all signatories.
As a signatory to the Covenant, the State Government works in partnership with industry stakeholders to improve the recovery of packaging materials in Western Australia. Each Covenant signatory must prepare and implement an Action Plan to reduce waste and increase resource recovery. Annual progress reports on performance and achievements are also required.
Identified non-signatories or ‘free-rider’ industries are subject to the National Environment Protection Measure for Used Packaging Materials which is implemented in WA by the Department of Environment and Conservation through the Environmental Protection (NEPM-UPM) Regulation 2007. This is to ensure Covenant industry signatories are not exposed to unfair competition from brand owners who choose not to sign the Covenant.
Projects 2012 - 2013
As at 1 July 2013 there were four Covenant projects being delivered in WA. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, through the Waste Authority, provided a total of $156,375 in funding which was matched by the National Packaging Covenant Industry Association. These projects are managed by the Covenant Secretariat and are aimed at reducing packaging waste to landfill. Two projects are related to cardboard recycling, one to glass crushing and the fourth is focusing on away-from-home recycling.
An encouraging aspect of the glass recycling proposal by the Roe Regional Organisation of Councils group is the intent of the local councils themselves to utilise the crushed, recycled glass in civil infrastructure works. The creation of local markets for recycled materials in regional WA is important to the economic feasibility of setting up recycling schemes.
Under its responsibilities to the Covenant, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation surveys government agencies on their recycling performances. Through the survey it promotes sustainable procurement policies and away-from-home recycling across government.
The commitments of Western Australia are detailed in an Action Plan that is reported upon on an annual basis.
For further information see the Australian Packaging Covenant website.