The ‘Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap to 2025’ has been launched, providing a collective vision and framework for how to improve the sustainability of dairy packaging in the future.

The Roadmap was developed by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), in partnership with Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Products Federation, with the goal of achieving the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

As part of the Roadmap, dairy manufacturers will be asked to review their packaging in order to assess its sustainability and implement changes to optimise it where possible. Reuse, reduction, elimination, increased recyclability and recyclable content are all factors that manufacturers will be asked to consider.

Key targets outlined in the roadmap include:

  • 100% of packaging designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025;
  • Collection and recycling systems available for all dairy packaging by 2025;
  • 80% of supermarket products to be labelled with the Australasian Recycling Label by December 2023; and
  • 50% average post-consumer recycled content across all dairy packaging by 2025.

How might that impact your dairy business?

Businesses with greater than $5 million annual turnover have obligations under the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM). The goal of the NEPM is to reduce environmental degradation arising from the disposal of used packaging and conserve virgin materials through the encouragement of waste avoidance and the reuse and recycling of used packaging materials by supporting and complementing the voluntary strategies in the Covenant and by assisting the assessment of the performance of the Covenant.

These obligations can be achieved either voluntarily by joining and complying with the programs of APCO, or by direct regulation by SA’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

If your business is subject to these obligations, you may want to know whether you should join APCO. You can assess this by clicking on the APCO link to Assess Your Liability. Membership with APCO is not essential, but it may be advantageous in terms of complying with the NEPM.

In SA the regulatory instrument used for enforcement of the NEPM is the Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Policy 2012 (EPP). The EPP is enforced by the EPA and liable businesses are required to meet its statutory obligations.

APCO membership

By joining APCO, members receive guided support in meeting obligations under the Australian Packaging Covenant, and access to various resources and programs, including the Australasian Recycling Label Program.

APCO can also assist dairy businesses to implement the roadmap by connecting businesses with other industry stakeholders to work collaboratively to deliver the 2025 Targets and create a circular economy for dairy packaging in Australia.

Useful information for SA businesses

A joint APCO and EPA webinar was held on 10 November 2020, ‘Reducing the environmental impacts of packaging in South Australia’: