New campaign to help small business make packaging more sustainable

A new education campaign will raise awareness among small businesses about the benefits of adopting the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and taking action to improve the sustainability of their packaging.  

The new initiative will be delivered by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), the National Retail Association (NRA), the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and aims to educate 20,000 small businesses about the benefits of using the ARL. 

The ARL is an on-pack label that provides easy-to-understand instructions to consumers about how to correctly dispose of all parts of a product’s packaging. Providing consumers with accessible on-pack recycling information will make it easier for households to recycle, increasing resource recovery and reducing waste stream contamination. The education campaign is the first part of a series of initiatives under the SME ARL Program to support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt the ARL on their packaging. 

Through the campaign, SMEs will receive access to a range of free educational tools, resources and events designed to cut through confusion and empower them to take action to improve the sustainability of their packaging. Topics explored in the campaign include sustainable packaging options, the benefits of using the ARL for businesses, consumers and the environment, and important steps organisations can take to reach the 2025 National Packaging Targets.  

A series of free online training topics will also be available, developed by the AIP, Australia’s peak packaging training and education body. The training modules, along with a range of other action guides, fact sheets and toolkits will be housed on a new dedicated educational website – the ARL Marketplace (link: ) – a one-stop-shop for resources and information about the ARL and sustainable packaging. Over the next two years, the SME ARL Program will deliver streamlined processes and tools to make it easier for SMEs to assess the recyclability of their packaging and apply the ARL. 

Chris Foley, CEO, APCO (campaign lead organisation) commented: ‘We understand that sustainability is an important issue for small businesses, but with so many competing priorities, getting started can be difficult. Through this campaign we are excited to provide the tools and resources Australia’s small businesses need to start improving the sustainability of their packaging today. 

‘These organisations play an important role in the Australian business community. By helping them get the ARL on-pack and start working towards the 2025 National Packaging Targets, this campaign can provide a powerful step forward in Australia’s collective journey towards a more sustainable and circular packaging future’. 

David Stout, Director of Policy, NRA has welcomed the opportunity to help more SMEs in their efforts to become more sustainable. As one of the leading experts on single-use plastics across Australia, the NRA will engage thousands of businesses across the whole supply chain to help them understand the ARL.  

David commented: ‘While businesses are highly supportive of sustainability initiatives, they often don’t have the time or resources needed to understand the technical intricacies of packaging requirements and trends. As part of our engagement, it is critical that we bring businesses and consumers along with us.’ 

Nerida Kelton, Executive Director, AIP commented: ‘The AIP is extremely proud to be one of the four partners in the new campaign which is a very important initiative funded by the Federal Government. The AIP strongly encourages all SMEs to start implementing the ARL on all of their packaging to ensure that their customers honestly know what can and cannot be collected, sorted, recovered and recycled in their region.  

“The ARL is an effective and intuitive on-pack labelling program that can help guide all Australians to accurately dispose of the materials and packaging into the right bins every time. Consumer engagement in the process is critical to improve collection and recycling rates in the region. We look forward to working with as many small businesses as possible to help train and educate them to see the true value that the ARL can offer their business and in turn their customers.” 

Tanya Barden, CEO, AFGC commented: “The ARL is an important tool that is helping consumers recycle packaging the right way and create clean streams of material ready for recycling into new products. Australian food and grocery manufacturers have already put the ARL on thousands of products and the AFGC encourages all companies to take part in the program. Australia has an enormous opportunity to build new capacity in areas including advanced recycling of soft plastic packaging, and adopting the ARL is an important way for companies of all sizes to support the environment and a new, sustainable industry.” 

The project received grant funding from the Australian Government to support SMEs to improve the sustainability of their packaging and to adopt the ARL on their packaging. Visit  to learn more.