Trans-tasman partnership to boost packaging recycling

by | Jul 15, 2022 | News

The recycling of packaging in New Zealand is set to increase thanks to a new partnership between the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council  and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.

The arrangement will advance the uptake of the Australasian Recycling Label, an on-pack labelling scheme that helps consumers to recycle correctly and supports brand owners to design packaging that is recyclable at end-of-life, says the FGC.

The programme was developed by APCO in partnership with Planet Ark and Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) Design.

APCO Chief Executive Officer Brooke Donnelly said: “we are excited to be working with the FGC to increase uptake of the ARL in New Zealand and support brand owners to adopt it so they can provide their customers with critical information that will increase recycling rates and resource recovery. The ARL has just reached a new milestone of 250,000 SKUs on-pack in Australia and 80,000 SKUs in New Zealand. Partnerships like this are critical for supporting brands to design for the local recycling capability and to ensure credibility in consumer information.”

Food & Grocery Chief Executive Katherine Rich said: “69% of New Zealanders say they check the label on packaging before recycling, so the instructions need to be clear and most importantly reflect the collection and recycling system here in New Zealand. “More than 95% of scannable barcodes on packaging are common across both New Zealand and Australia, so our members need one labelling system. We are excited to continue this great work by championing the adoption of the ARL, not just by the food and grocery sector but for all packaging.”

FGC and APCO will co-design a roadmap to raise awareness of the ARL in New Zealand for the benefit of consumers, brand owners, packaging suppliers, recyclers and the environment. The roadmap aims to:

  • increase the number of food and grocery companies using the ARL on consumer packaging.
  • ensure the ARL is fit for purpose by using software managed by PREP Design that is reflective of the market.
  • support alignment by all value chain players.

In 2021, FGC began supporting the adoption of the ARL in New Zealand after a Ministry for the Environment Report recognised the ARL as the best recycling labelling approach, based on its evidence-based system that ensures packaging with the ARL label can be successfully recovered.

The ARL was also recognised by UN Environment Programme and Consumers International as one of the leading labelling systems globally for its clarity, accessibility and reliability.


The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is the agency charged by government to make all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. To achieve this goal, APCO is working closely with government and industry to deliver a range of sustainable design, recycling, waste to landfill reduction and circular economy projects. Recognised as one of Australia’s leading product stewardship organisations with a strong national and global collaborative network, APCO is committed to reducing the environmental impact of packaging on Australian communities by moving towards a circular economy.


The ANZPAC Plastics Pact (ANZPAC) is a collaborative solution that brings together key players behind a shared vision of a circular economy for plastic, where plastic never becomes waste or pollution. Together through shared knowledge, investment and industry led innovation ANZPAC will eliminate the plastics we don’t need, innovate to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulate the plastic we use, keeping it in the economy and out of the environment. ANZPAC members represent the complete plastics value chain, from leading brands, packaging manufacturers and retailers to resource recovery leaders, government institutions, and NGOs. The Pact will work to deliver a set of concrete, ambitious and time-bound targets.  ANZPAC joins the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network. The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is the organisation leading the ANZPAC programme for the region.

The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council (FGC) is an industry association that represents the manufacturers and suppliers behind New Zealand’s food, beverage, and grocery brands.

Images by Agenlaku Indonesia and  Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash


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