The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) has been rated as world-leading among consumer labelling programs in a new report from the UN Environment Programme, Consumers International and the One Planet network – 10YFP.
The ARL aims to clearly outline what product packaging is made from so consumers can make responsible purchasing decisions and correctly recycle material post-use.
Furthermore, businesses that pledge their commitment to the ARL gain access to a unique analysis tool that allows them to better understand the materials they use in their packaging and associated environmental impacts.
Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) CEO Brooke Donnelly said APCO was “incredibly excited” to see the ARL program recognised as a world-leading consumer education initiative at the highest levels.
“The program was commended for its clarity, reliability and accessibility, and singled out as one of the few programs delivering considered, informative and useful information that could effectively increase responsible consumer behaviour,” she said.
“Congratulations to all of our 380 Members who are already part of the program and actively working to bring this first class program to life.”
The report, A Global Mapping and Assessment of Standards, Labels and Claims on Plastic Packaging, found only 19 per cent of assessed labels gave consumers quality information to make informed recycling and purchasing decisions.
“Globally, only about 9 per cent of plastic waste has been recycled and about 12 per cent has been incinerated. The vast majority ends up in landfill or leaks into the environment,” a Consumers International statement reads.
“Rising public awareness and concern about plastics has encouraged businesses to increasingly communicate this information about their packaging. However, the information is often unclear.”
Report lead authors Ellie Moss and Rebecca Harris have called for a global, multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder approach to tackling the growing problem of plastic waste and packaging.
The report outlines five global recommendations for action, including businesses following the Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information in the their plastic packaging communications, and global consistency when it comes to definitions relating to the content and reusability of packaging and disposable items.
The report also suggests restricting the use of the ‘chasing arrows’ symbol, and having definitions and technical requirements used in standards related to recyclability, compostability, and biodegradability better reflect real world conditions, with more attention to accessibility and consumer understanding.