Australian Recycling Label update

If you watched the War On Waste show in August you’ll be in the know about the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL). This label is a great idea as it removes all confusion for the consumer about how to properly dispose of their packaging. The label was introduced back in 2015, and has been used by a number of brands such as Woolworths, Officeworks, Blackmores, Australia Post, T2 and Plantic.

Thanks to a partnership with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization (APCO) early this year, the ARL is now available to all APCO members, since then, more than 50 brands have signed up for the ARL and counting, so as time goes on we should start seeing the label more and more on the shelves.

ARL on the shelves
We took in trip into a few Woolworth’s stores recently to see how things stacked up and did notice quite a few of the Woolworths branded products with the ARL on it. It should be noted that the labelling process can take up to 3 years so it is all in a transition phase and it’s expected that over the next year we will really start to see the label take off. Here are a few that we noticed:















How to stay educated
At the moment there is only a small proportion of packaging featuring the ARL so it’s useful to know what tools are available to answer your questions around packaging disposal until the new labelling in commonplace.

These are our favourite:

  • ‘Recycling Near You’ website – look up your item, put in your postcode and your waste/recycling options will come up. 
  • RecycleSmart – an Australian wide app which draws data from the RecyclingNearYou site for every Australian council and allows users to easily search for information about how to recycle over 170 household items. Download from App Store or Google Play for FREE. 
  • Sustain Me – does a very similar job but is specific to Victoria only. Download from App Store or Google Play for FREE.
  • Your Council website.

What else can we as consumers do?
Planet Ark recommends If your favourite brands are not using the Australasian Recycling Label, why not hit them up on their social media pages. And they’ve made it super easy with some suggested text that can be copied and pasted:

  • Love your product! But it would be awesome if your packaging had the Australasian Recycling Label on it so I knew whether or not it could be recycled. Do you have plans to introduce this label to help a waste warrior out? / #WarOnWasteAU #PlanetArk
  • I recently bought your product but when I wanted to dispose of the packaging thoughtfully I didn’t know which bin to throw it in! Are you looking to introduce the Australasian Recycling Label? / #WarOnWasteAU #PlanetArk
  • I’ve seen the Australasian Recycling Label on packaging to help me know whether or not to recycle it but I don’t see it on your products. Are you able to look at introducing it on your packaging? / #WarOnWasteAU #PlanetArk

For brand owners
If you are a brand owner who would like to get onboard with the ARL , you would have to get your packaging assessed by the PREP tool first. PREP works as an evaluation tool of your existing packaging, so you can figure out where each part of the packaging sits in terms of recyclability.

It might be that you redesign your packaging after a PREP evaluation – for example say you have a plastic tray as part of your packaging that is currently black. As we have heard recently, there is an issue with some black plastic in the recycling system because of a pigment called “carbon black” which cannot be detected by the sorting machines – so inevitably ends up in landfill or it contaminates the paper stream.

For further information on the Recycling Label Program, please contact APCO (

For further information on the PREP tool click here.

Recycling questions in your workplace?
If you have questions around the recyclability and correct disposal of items in your workplace please contact us.