Person holding mesh shopping bag and cotton shopper with vegetables without plastic bags at farmers market
Consumers play a critical role in Australia’s plastics challenge. The products we choose to buy and how we dispose of them determine the amount of plastic that we generate, recycle and waste.
Actions to support consumers
Work with industry to ensure all Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) members with annual revenue greater than $500 million use the Australasian recycling Label (ARL) by end of 2023, resulting in 80% of supermarket products displaying the ARL, including recycled content. The Australian Government will also support uptake of the ARL by small to medium-enterprises (SMEs).
The Australian Government will refer companies making false or misleading labelling and environmental claims such as misrepresentation of recyclability, to the ACCC for investigation.
The Australian Government will work with states and territories governments to harmonise kerbside recycling collection.
The Australian Government is supporting the national rollout of the Recycle Mate App in 2021. The app helps consumers determine whether a product can be recycled.
The Australian Government will keep working with state and territory governments to better align aspects of Container deposit schemes (CDSs).
Plastic bottles and paper for recycling
Environmentally friendly mesh bags for fruit and vegetables - Say No to Plastic
Eco shopping bag
Australian households and consumer face barriers to recycling correctly, including lack of consistent information on how to recycle certain materials. The following case studies highlight initiatives that will help households to recycle correctly.
RedCycle has set up recycling stations at the front of nearly all Woolworths and Coles stores around Australia to divert soft plastics out of kerbside bins. Since 2011, the RedCycle program has grown from 100 bins to 1800 bins. 90% of Australians now have access to a RedCycle bin.
To date, RedCycle has collected over 900 million pieces of soft plastic. This is enough to circle the world over 5.5 times. Collected plastic is converted into products like furniture, road asphalt and air conditioner mounting blocks.
In September 2020, Nestlé Australia and iQ Renew announced their pilot kerbside recycling program for soft plastic. The project has commenced with a pilot of 2000 households on the New South Wales Central Coast. There are plans to expand the project to over 140,000 households, processing around 750 tonnes of soft plastic that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
Read about the soft plastic recycling trial.