APCO packaging material flow analysis 2018 (released 2019)

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) commissioned the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney (ISF) to characterise the waste material flows through the Australian waste packaging system, using material flow analysis (MFA) methodology. MFA assists in visualising the flows of packaging materials throughout the Australian waste system, from consumption through to reprocessing. This analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of the collection, sorting and recovery systems in Australia, identifying a range of potential strategies across the value chain to improve recovery of packaging. Analysis was undertaken for the postconsumer glass, paper, metal, and plastic packaging waste systems in Australia for the 2017/18 financial year. These material flow estimates were used as a baseline for evaluating future scenarios to improve packaging waste management in Australia, towards the implementation of a circular economy for packaging. Importantly, the results provide estimates for packaging currently being collected, sorted, recovered and recycled at the end of its useful life. Efforts to improve packaging design to make it recyclable are focused at the manufacturing stage of the packaging lifecycle, and thus fall outside of the scope of this analysis.

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