Australasian Recycling Label. Source: Planet Ark.
Australasian Recycling Label. Source: Planet Ark.

Big change to recycling and goodbye to single-use plastic

SHOPPERS will find it easier to sort their recycling thanks to a new label launched today.

The Australasian Recycling Label shows exactly what parts of the packaging are recyclable and what needs to be thrown into landfill.

Launched today, it's already being printed on packaging across the country in supermarkets and is part of an ambitious government plan that includes the end of single-use plastics. 

The government hopes these new targets will put an end to single-use plastic within two years - either by making it reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Here's how the label will help Australia's recycle:  

For example, below is the label you might find on a box of chocolates.

Australasian Recycling Label. Source: Planet Ark.
Australasian Recycling Label. Source: Planet Ark.

The image shows that the box is recyclable (it's cardboard) and can be put in the kerbside collection, the tray (made of plastic) might be recyclable depending on your individual council, and the wrap is not recyclable so should be placed in the rubbish bin.

When faced with the conditionally recyclable symbol and the instruction to "check locally", you can go to to check your council's policy.

More than 50 Australian businesses have committed to the program including Australia Post, Blackmores, Nestlé, Officeworks, Unilever and Woolworths.

The label is part of efforts to improve meet Australia's 2025 target to ensure 100 per cent of all packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable.

The targets also aims to recycle or compost 70 per cent of Australia's plastic packaging by 2025 and to ensure new packaging includes an average of 30 per cent recycled content.

Environment Minister Melissa Price launched the label at the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation's Towards 2025 event in Melbourne today.

Ms Price said it would remove confusion and reduce waste.

"(It) provides people with easy to understand recycling information when they need it most, in those few seconds when they are deciding what bin the package goes in," she said.

Australia's recycling industry was thrown into crisis after China introduced tough new standards that meant most waste from Australia would no longer be accepted.

Australia produces 64 million tonnes of waste a year and recycles 35 million tonnes, with four million tonnes exported overseas, 1.3 million tonnes of which went to China.

In order to achieve the 2025 recycling outcomes, upgrades to waste sorting and recovery and support for developing recycling markets will be required.

A review of Australia's National Waste Policy is currently underway and will look at the entire supply chain from creation through use, collection, recovery and recycling of packaging waste.