Review of the National Packaging Covenant

Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS
Publication Type:
2004, pp. 1 - 99
Issue Date:
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The NSW Nature Conservation Council, with funding from the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, commissioned the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney, to carry out an independent review of the National Packaging Covenant and the National Environmental Protection Measure for Used Packaging Materials (the Covenant systema), in December 2003. This review was intended to evaluate the Covenant system's effectiveness in achieving both its stated objectives and broader environmental and social outcomes, including reduction in generation of packaging waste, specifically reduction in virgin materials used in packaging and a reduction in packaging material disposed to landfill. The National Packaging Covenant (NPC) is a voluntary agreement between industry, the Commonwealth Government, most State Governments and some local governments, to reduce packaging waste. It is supported by a regulatory measure, the National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM), designed to encourage brand owners to sign the NPC. The NPC came into effect in August 1999 and is due to finish in July 2004. It is currently the subject of three separate reviews, including this one. The principle of a cooperative regulatory framework supported by a regulatory safety net is an appealing one, so there is a strong desire on the part of industry and some government agencies to provide the maximum possible opportunity for the NPC to demonstrate that it has provided benefits. This review has determined that the Covenant system is not an effective instrument for reducing the generation of packaging waste and therefore an alternative policy framework will be needed to achieve this goal. The evaluation is briefly summarised for each of the criteria.
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