Australasian Recycling Label

The Australasian Recycling Label is an evidence-based system for Australia and New Zealand, that provides you with easy to understand recycling information when you need it most. It removes confusion, saves you time and reduces waste going to landfill.

How Does It Work?

There are three types of labels:

Why Do We Need It?

Australians and New Zealanders care about the environment and want to do the right thing. But with hundreds of recycling labels out there, getting recycling right can be confusing and even recycling gurus get it wrong.

The Australasian Recycling Label removes recycling confusion. When we dispose of our waste correctly, we keep contamination out of the recycling stream and recyclable material away from landfill.

Unlike other labels, the Australasian Recycling Label is an evidence-based system underpinned by the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP). As not all packaging is created equal, not all recycling labels should be the same. It is not possible for a piece of packaging to have the Australasian Recycling Label without a PREP assessment that backs up disposal claims.

Packaging recyclability is much more than just the material it is made of. Things like shape, weight, inks and glues, can impact the recyclability of an item. The Australasian Recycling Label takes all of this into consideration as well as the amount of the population that has access for that item to be recycled via their kerbside recycling collection service.

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Know The Labels

Recyclable: The coloured/opaque recycling symbol, means that this piece of packaging can be placed in the recycling bin as it is. Each piece of packaging with this label has to be placed separately in the recycling bin.

Conditionally Recyclable: The clear/ transparent recycling symbol means that you must follow the instructions to recycle this packaging component. If you don’t follow the instructions it has to go in the rubbish bin, as it will otherwise not be recycled and cause contamination to the recycling stream.

Not Recyclable: The bin symbol, means that this piece of packaging is not recyclable and you must place it in the rubbish bin. DO NOT place it in the recycling bin. It will not get recycled and it will contaminate the recycling stream.

Conditionally Recyclable Label Instructions

You may have seen the below instructions on your packaging items! Click on each instruction below to find out why you need to follow them for your packaging to be recycled.

Hover over the labels for more information

Return this item to the soft plastics collection bins at any Coles or Woolworths store in Australia only.

Take the packaging component to the soft plastics bins at any Coles or Woolworths store in Australia only.

This instruction means that you will need to check to see if this item is accepted in your recycling bin. In Australia you can check recyclingnearyou.com.au or contact your local council, in New Zealand, please contact your local council to find out if the piece of packaging can be placed in the recycling bin.

Rinse and dry the packaging item before returning it to the soft plastics collection bins at any Coles or Woolworths store in Australia only.

Rinse and dry the packaging item before returning it to the soft plastics collection bins at any Coles or Woolworths store in Australia only.

Scrunch aluminium foil to form a ball 2cm or more in diameter and place in the recycling bin. You may need other pieces to form a big enough ball to ensure it can move through the sorting facilities. If too small, it will be screened incorrectly and rejected as waste.

Carefully mould this piece of packaging to form a ball of 2cm or more in diameter and place it in the recycling bin. You may need other pieces to form a big enough ball to ensure it can move through the sorting facilities. If too small, it will be screened incorrectly and rejected as waste.

Fold the packaging component before placing it in the recycling bin. This ensures it can then be sorted correctly at the material recovery facilities to the correct recycling stream.

Flatten the packaging before placing it in the recycling bin. You may see this on very rigid cardboard that may not readily crush in collection trucks. Ensuring cardboard is 2D when placed in the recycling bin will help it to move correctly through the material recovery facilities.

Leave that packaging component attached and place it in the recycling bin. Small or very flat plastic items can be screened into the incorrect recyclate stream and then rejected as waste. This instruction helps us to recover and recycle the those materials that would otherwise be lost to landfill.

These instructions can be found on packaging items where an attachment is a different material to the main packaging item. For example, you may need to remove material handles from a paper bag before placing the bag in the recycling bin. If the component remains attached, it can cause too much contamination for either materials to be recycled.

Separate the two packaging components before placing both in the recycling bin. When separated, these packaging components can be sorted correctly and travel to the appropriate recyclate stream.

Only at Transfer Stations: This instruction can be found on Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) packaging, that can only be recycled if taken to a transfer station. Check recyclingnearyou.com.au to find your closest one in Australia, or check with your local council in New Zealand.

Place small paper components in a used envelope before placing it in the recycling bin. By placing them in an envelope, small pieces of paper are able to be recovered and will not be blow away at recycling facilities.

Crush your bottle and replace the cap afterwards, before putting it in your recycling bin. This ensures that the bottle is empty of potential contaminants, the cap will not come off when compressed and the cap can be recovered and recycled. Please note, this instruction is applicable to kerbside collection only and your state or territory Container Deposit Scheme / Legislation instructions may be different.

Resources

For Australia only. New Zealand resources will be available in 2020. 

Councils
Waste Groups
Educators
NGO's & Community Groups

Get The Label

If you are a brand owner, or packaging manufacturer who wants to get the Australasian Recycling Label on your packaging, please contact the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) on  apco@packagingcovenant.org.au or phone (02) 8381 3700.

Contact Us

Have any questions on the ARL? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Partnerships

The Australasian Recycling Label is an element of APCO’s Packaging Recycling Label Program. APCO, Planet Ark and PREP Design are working in partnership to deliver the program. This  will help consumers better understand how to recycle products effectively and assist brand owners to design packaging that is recyclable at end-of-life. This scheme aims to increase recycling and recovery rates and contribute to cleaner recycling streams.

The labelling program will reduce waste by:

  • Delivering a clear, well-understood label that will provide greater consumer clarity about what packaging can be recycled.
  • Increasing the recovery of recyclable materials and reducing contamination in the waste stream.
  • Helping brands to design packaging that is easier to recycle.
  • Supporting businesses to inform consumers about the recyclability of their packaging.