TMX Transform’s Sophie Marshall and David Chalmers explain to MHD how the federal government’s new packaging regulations will require businesses to develop sustainable packaging for items by 2025.
By the end of 2025, a new packaging regulatory scheme will be established in Australia, focusing on design standards and targets so packaging is recovered, reused, recycled, and reprocessed safely in line with circular economy principles.
Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Environment and Water, says, “Seventy per cent of the environmental impacts of an item are locked in at the design stage,” so focusing on design elements can improve recovery – which is needed given only 12 per cent of plastics were recycled in Australia during 2020-21.
Proposed legislation around waste minimisation with packaging in the EU is expected to pass by Q1 2024, with the legislation applying to exporters to the EU.
The focus is on consumer packaging, detailing targets around packaging minimisation, reuse, recycling, labelling, and banned substances.
TMX Transform’s Sustainability Lead, Sophie Marshall, says, “regulatory change is fast approaching in Australia and abroad. It is so important businesses address their packaging design now, to prepare for this industry shift, which will greatly enhance resource preservation and recovery.”
During 2020-21 in Australia, 6.74 million tonnes of packaging was placed on market (POM), with 44 per cent of this packaging being disposed to landfill. EU packaging regulations will impact Australian businesses exporting to the EU and will have a significant impact on Australia’s waste minimisation efforts.
Companies supplying materials in bulk into the EU will also need to comply with reuse regulations, for items including pallets, boxes (excluding cardboard), trays, plastic crates, intermediate bulk containers, drums, and canisters, with these targets set to apply from 2030 and reach 90 per cent by 2040. Here’s how to prepare for the inevitable changes:
- Engage an industry advisor;
- Complete a packaging diagnostic to identify how close a company is to meeting the proposed EU regulatory targets;
- Identify gaps now, to determine a sustainable packaging roadmap to ensure compliance will be achieved within the required timeframe;
- Develop a reverse logistics strategy to enable packaging reuse or recovery.
Ultimately, the impending EU packaging regulations will require businesses to adapt their packaging practices and embrace sustainability, setting the stage for a more environmentally responsible future.
David Chalmers & Sophie Marshall, TMX Transform
For more information on TMX Transform, click here.