The National Environmental Protection Measure (Used Packaging Materials) 2011 (NEPM) establishes a co-regulatory framework for implementing the Australian Packaging Covenant, a voluntary scheme to reduce the environmental effects of consumer packaging across Australia. Implementation of the Covenant is administered by the Australian Covenant Packaging Organisation (APCO) and State and Territory Governments. Under the Covenant, large packaging producers or brand owners with a gross annual income in Australia of more than $5 million have a responsibility to minimise the environmental impact of their packaging. These businesses can fulfil this responsibility in one of two ways.
Businesses that sign the Covenant prepare and implement Waste Action Plans to take responsibility for the environmental impact and the ultimate disposal of their packaging. The Covenant establishes a collaborative framework for effective life cycle management of consumer packaging and paper products among all sectors of the packaging supply chain, consumers, collectors, re-processors and all spheres of government. Signatories to the Covenant automatically become members of APCO which supports industry-driven product stewardship and collaboration on transforming the way packaging is managed in Australia.
The NEPM also requires all states and territories to apply legislative and regulatory mechanisms to support the Covenant by creating a level playing field for businesses that is protected from free riders. This ensures that businesses that voluntarily participate in the Covenant are not disadvantaged compared with those which chose not to become signatories. In Tasmania the NEPM becomes law under section 12A of the
State Policies and Projects Act 1993 and is implemented via Environment Protection Notices (EPNs) issued by the EPA under section 44(1)(c) of the
Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994. Such EPNs uphold the Covenant and the Tasmanian Government's obligations under the NEPM by requiring businesses to develop and implement a Waste Action Plan with specific recovery targets, and to regularly demonstrate and report progress towards achieving those targets.
Useful information for Tasmanian businesses
APCO and EPA Tasmania webinar was held on 25 February 2021, 'Reducing the environmental impacts of packaging in Tasmania':
Video # 1: the entire APCO/ EPA Tas webinar (44 minutes)
Video # 2:
Business obligations extract (11 minutes)
Video # 3:
APCO membership extract (14 minutes)