Australians are becoming more aware of the impact packaging has on our environment. Because of this many businesses are actively taking steps to understand their product lifecycle, from design to disposal. With more than 72% of Australians looking for a recycling symbol on pack, businesses have a responsibility to provide accurate information on disposal advice.
However, amidst the array of symbols and recycling icons available, it can be challenging to discern which ones are most accurate and relevant.
72% of Australians look for recycling information on pack
Best practice disposal labels in Australia
There are multiple labels used to help educate consumers on how to responsibly dispose of products and food packaging. Brands that have recognised and trusted information on their packaging build trust amongst their consumers. In Australia and New Zealand, the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) is seen as best practice for on-pack disposal advice.
Australasian Recycling Label (ARL)
Two-thirds of Australians recognise the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), an on-pack label that assists consumers in recycling correctly. Currently, there are more than 330,000 SKUs carrying the ARL across Australasia and more than 70 percent of Australians want to see it on all packaging.
As an example, if your business manufactures or uses paper cups, the Drop Off Only ARL for paper cups may be applied to inform consumers how and where they can recycle their paper coffee cups, take-away cups, ice-cream cups and other single-use paper cups.
The use of the ARL is restricted to APCO and ARL Program Members only, with the licence to apply the ARL on-pack granted to those Members who have agreed to the Terms & Conditions of the ARL Program.
Other common disposal labels and symbols
Businesses should be aware of the type of label and symbol they are using and ensuring it is specific to their consumer such as considering location, access to safe disposal or recycling systems and other logistics.
While some aid consumers in identifying disposal methods, they may not provide comprehensive or accurate guidance. The following are not recommended unless there has been internal validation of the message and/or additional accurate advice supports the visual.
The mobius loop is commonly used to represent that a product is recyclable. There is no regulation or guidance on the use of this logo.
Often misunderstood as a recycling symbol, its purpose is to remind consumers to dispose of items in the rubbish bin to prevent littering.
Originating from Germany, this signifies that the company producing the product makes financial contribution to recycling schemes but does not guarantee the recyclability of the product.
Home compostable certification (AS 5810)
Administered by the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA), the voluntary verification scheme tests whether a product can breakdown within specific timeframes without toxic effects to plants, compost or earthworms in a home composting environment.
This demonstrates that the certified product can be home composted in a home composting environment. Learn more: ABA Certification.
Plastics Identification Code (PIC)
Identifies the material type and relies on consumers knowing local disposal methods based on plastic types.
Embracing best practices in Australia
Businesses can enhance consumer trust by adopting the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) on their packaging, providing accurate disposal guidance, and reinforcing commitment to responsible environmental practices.
Find out more about the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL).