Who do the obligations apply to?
You have obligations if your business has a gross annual income in Australia of $5 million or more, and you are a:
- brand owner of consumer products, or a
- retailer who provides plastic bags to consumers for transporting consumer products.
A brand owner is the owner of the product name under which the product is sold or otherwise distributed in Australia. A product name includes a trade mark, brand name or trade name whether or not registered in Australia.
If the owner of the product name is not in Australia, then this obligation can fall to a licensee, franchisee or first seller of a product, depending on the circumstances.
A self-assessment tool, to help you understand if you are a brand owner, is available at https://apco.org.au/evaluate-your-options
Brand owners are responsible for all packaging materials used for containing, protecting, transporting, marketing and handling consumer products.
- all packaging made of any material (or any combination of materials) for containing, protecting, marketing, and handling consumer products,
- packaging materials used to transport consumer products to a retailer (also known as distribution or business-to-business packaging), and
- plastic bags provided to consumers by retailers at point-of-sale.
Brand owners have mandatory obligations under Part 8 of the POEO Waste Regulation, to:
- recover 90% of all packaging materials used to contain, protect, market, handle and transport consumer products
- ensure that recovered packaging materials have been reused or recycled
- provide consumers with adequate information about packaging disposal - including information on where to take the materials and how to re-use or recycle them
- review 100% of all new and existing packaging material using the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines
- keep annual records as specified in legislation, retain those records for 5 years and make those records available for inspection and copying by an EPA authorised officer on request
- at the discretion of the EPA, you can also be required to prepare a draft waste action plan that sets out your current performance, how you will ensure compliance and how you will ensure a continuous reduction in packaging litter
These obligations do not apply, if your business is a compliant signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant.
What you need to do if you are a brand owner
- Understand the obligations – review the regulatory requirements, to ensure you understand what you must do
- Consider your options - These obligations do not apply to Brand Owners that are a compliant signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant.
- Prepare early – once the EPA requests your records, you must produce these within the time that the EPA specifies.
- Ensure your packaging records are up to date – ensure your annual records are being made and can be made available for inspection. Records can be in any form but must contain the information required by Part 8 of the POEO Waste Regulation.
There are 2 pathways available:
- meeting the obligations set out in the POEO Waste Regulation, OR
- becoming a signatory to, and complying with, the Australian Packaging Covenant.