National Recycling and Recovery Survey

The survey results from the National Recycling and Recovery Survey (2015 – 2016) have been released by the  Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). This survey covers off the four most common recyclable packaging streams – paper packaging, glass containers, steel cans and aluminium packaging.

The results are based on data of actual materials that are processed or exported for recycling (i.e. not the household recycling rate). It’s promising to see the overall recycling rate has increased 2% between 2014-15 to 2015-16 from 63.3% to 65.3%. Let’s take a look at the recycling rates by material stream for the past two reported years…

Recycling Rate – Glass

The glass recycling rate has risen slightly in 2015-16, to 43%, this was after a sharp decline the previous year (2013-14 was 47%).






recycling rates - aluminium cansRecycling Rate – Aluminium Cans

The recycling rate for aluminium cans has remained stable for the last two years which is good to see as prior to that it had seen a drop from 68% in 2013-14 period.





Recycling Rate – Steel Cans

The recycling rate for steel cans has steadily improved over the years. In 2010-11 it was sitting at 34% and since then has slowly increased to 51% which is reported for the 2015-16 period. Interestingly enough, consumption of steel cans has actually decreased (around 10%) to the prior year.




Recycling Rate – Paperboard

The recycling rate for paperboard (fibre packaging) has been one that has been of notable increase. Back in 2002-03, a 49% recycling rate was reported and since 2008-09 it has been in the 70’s which is great to see. Consumption of this waste stream has however been rising dramatically also.



Recycling Rate – Non-Beverage Aluminium

This waste stream primarily includes personal care aerosols but also includes other small pieces of packaging of other personal care and health care products, cans of non-food applications, trays, foil and closures. This type of packaging accounts for less than 12%  of aluminium packaging (most of it is the beverage packaging). Comparing the past two years, the recycling rate has dropped back a bit and this may prove a challenge to increase as recovery and recycling facilities have varying capabilities to deal with these types of products.


To gain some further insights into the recycling rates of packaging or read the full report issued by the APCO, download it here.

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