The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Planet Ark and Planet Ark and PREP Design have launched a nationwide labelling scheme designed to help consumers better understand how to recycle products effectively.

Australia Post, Blackmores, Nestlé, Officeworks, Unilever and Woolworths have already signed up to the scheme.

The creators said the Australasian Recycling Label would increase recycling rates, clearly outline to consumers what product packaging is made from and lead to greater transparency amongst industry, driving more sustainable supply chain models.

“The Australasian Recycling Label has been the result of close collaboration and partnership – core values of APCO. By bringing together the priorities of government and industry, and through our partnership with Planet Ark and PREP, we’ve been able to deliver a scheme that has real value for all parties and for the broader community as well,” APCO chief executive Brooke Donnelly said.

“We’re incredibly proud of this initiative and of our members who have already pledged their commitment. The broad representation across industries demonstrates the growing sense of sustainability awareness and commitment in the Australian business community. We look forward to working with more organisations to collectively achieve better recycling rates and reduce waste to landfill.”

The label was welcomed by the Boomerang Alliance, calling it “a potentially significant step towards improved recycling rates for Australia’s valuable resources”.

“Consumer sentiment is driving a revolution at the shopfront as shoppers reject the excessive levels of packaging that we continue to see on the shelves,” Boomerang Alliance director Jeff Angel said.

“APCO’s National Recycling Label empowers consumers to reject products that don’t stack up, which will drive producers to seek out a more recyclable alternative for their packaging.

Mr Angel said the move was important in the context of losing China as an export market for plastics and a lack of recycling capacity in Australia, predicting that a lot of packaging would now be heading to landfill.

“The National Recycling Label reflects Australia’s domestic recycling capabilities, so giving the consumer choice on the recyclability of their packaging will go some way to addressing this issue,” he said.

“But it should be made mandatory and be accompanied by more incentivisation from government to develop a viable industry around resource recovery and reuse.”