A business in a supply chain that uses packaging or packaged products and has a turnover of more than $5 million annually is likely to have a number of related obligations under the National Environmental Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM).

This page is designed to help you work out whether or not the NEPM applies to your business and, if so, what your obligations might be.

This page was copied from EPA's old website. It was last updated on 3 October 2018.

Information about brand audits and APCO letters

  • What is an APCO letter?

    You are receiving this letter as a result of a recent Brand Audit conducted to identify businesses that are liable under the National Environmental Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM).

    As part of a co-regulatory agreement with all Australian Governments, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has been charged with the task of informing you of your packaging related obligations and the options available for compliance with the NEPM.

  • Where did APCO get my information from?

    APCO provided Dun & Bradstreet (a company that provides commercial data) with a list of ANZSIC codes and purchased a data list of companies that had a recorded turnover of $5M and over. 

    The list of ANZSIC codes provided to Dun & Bradstreet were the same ANZSIC codes of our current membership base.

  • Why was my business chosen?

    The ANZSIC code of your company matches current members of APCO.

    To be fair and equitable we have approached businesses with the same industry (ANZSIC) codes as our current members who are meeting their obligations.

  • Have my competitors been approached?

    If your competitors have registered the same ANZSIC code as you, have a turnover of $5M and over, and are not already a member, then yes they will have been approached.
  • Why now? We’ve been in business for many years.

    In 2017 a new brand audit methodology was introduced and approved by Government. It is now in effect. The methodology was introduced to promote fairness across industry sectors to ensure businesses and were not competitively disadvantaged.
  • How long do I have to respond?

    40 (calendar) days from the date on your letter.
  • What happens if I don’t do anything?

    If APCO has not received your reply within 40 days of this letter, it is obliged to escalate the compliance process. No action from you will result in referral to EPA Victoria if your product is sold in Victoria.
  • What's an ANZSIC code?

    The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).

    ANZSIC codes are used in Australia and NZ for the production and analysis of industry statistics. They were developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Statistics New Zealand (Statistics NZ).

    An individual business entity is assigned to an industry based on its predominant activity.

  • Where do I find information on the NEPM?

Information about the Victorian Waste Management Policy (Used Packaging Materials)

  • What is the purpose of the WMP?

    The Waste Management Policy (Used Packaging Materials) (WMP) implements the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure in Victoria. The underlying goals of the WMP are to reduce environmental degradation arising from the disposal of used packaging and to conserve virgin materials.

    The WMP encourages the reuse and recycling of used packaging materials by supporting and complementing the voluntary strategies in the Australian Packaging Covenant (the Covenant).

    This policy was gazetted as the Waste Management Policy (Used Packaging Materials) No. G17, Gazette 26/04/2012.

    The WMP establishes a statutory basis for ensuring that signatories to the Australian Packaging Covenant are not competitively disadvantaged in the market by fulfilling their commitments under the Covenant.

  • What is EPA's role in the WMP?

    Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is Victoria’s independent environmental regulator. We protect the environment and people's health by preventing and reducing harm from pollution and waste, including used packaging.

    EPA regulates used packaging through the Victorian Waste Management Policy (Used Packaging Materials) 2012 (WMP). The WMP is how the National Environment Protection Measure (Used Packaging Materials) is implemented in Victoria. The goal of the National Environment Protection Measure is:

    To reduce environmental degradation arising from the disposal of used packaging and conserve virgin materials through the encouragement of re-use and recycling of used packaging materials by supporting and complementing the voluntary strategies in the Australian Packaging Covenant.

    The Victorian WMP establishes a statutory basis for ensuring that signatories to the Australian Packaging Covenant (the Covenant) are not disadvantaged in the market by fulfilling their commitments under the Covenant.

  • What are my alternative options?

    EPA’s preference is that brand owners are signatory to the APC to ensure a nationally consistent approach to product stewardship. Brand owners who are not signatory to the APC must meet compliance obligations under the Victorian Waste Management Policy (Used Packaging Materials) 2012 (WMP).

    Your business will be required to meet prescriptive recording and reporting requirements for all consumer packaging materials, as set out by obligations and regulations in the states and territories in which your packaging is sold.

    Businesses may elect to report to all states and territories in which their products are sold under the NEPM, and not become a Member of APCO. The reporting requirements may vary between jurisdictions, however, reporting requirements in Victoria are prescribed by the WMP.

    One of the obligations of the WMP requires Brand Owners to ensure an overall recovery rate of 70% for the following consumer packaging:

    a) Paper and cardboard.

    b) Glass.

    c) Steel.

    d) Aluminium.

    e) PET plastics (Code 1).

    f) HDPE plastics (Code 2).

    g) Plastics (Codes 3-7).

    Additionally, a brand owner must record the following information each packaging material used during each financial year:

    (a) Total weight of material used by material type.

    (b) Number of units of packaging by unit and material type.

    (c) Total weight of material recovered by material type.

    (d) Total weight of recovered material re-used and recycled in Australia by material type.

    (e) Total weight of recovered material re-used and recycled by material type through export.

    (f) Total kilojoules of embedded energy recovered.

    (g) Total weight of recovered material disposed of to landfill.

    (h) How consumers have been advised as to how packaging is to be recovered.

    Refer to the WMP for the complete list of packaging and reporting requirements in Victoria.

Information for when a company does not think it is liable

  • I'm not a brand owner.

    If the answer is yes to any of the following questions then your business is a brand owner.

    Alternatively, EPA suggests you contact APCO to discuss your businesses liability under the NEPM and subsequently the WMP.

    1. Are you in the supply chain of consumer packaging (see definition below), for example an importer, supplier of raw material, manufacturer, wholesaler?

    2. Are you a manufacturer, wholesaler or importer, or offer your branded products to consumers (final purchasers of the product, including packaging)?

    3. Are you the owner or licensee in Australia of a trademark under which a product is sold (whether the trade mark is registered or not)?

    4. Are you the owner or licensee in Australia of a trademark that is distributed in the country (whether the trade mark is registered or not)?

    5. Are you a franchisor or franchisee in Australia?

    6. Are you the first person to sell an imported product in Australia?

    7. Are you the supplier of in-store packaging to retailers?

    8. Are you the importer or manufacturer of plastic bags?

    9. Are you a retailer who provides plastic bags to a consumer for the transportation of products purchased by consumers at the point of sale?10. Do you sell any product that is packaged?

    11. Is your product delivered or presented to your customer in any type of packaging?

    12. Do you repackage any product to send to your stores, warehouses or other locations?

    13. If they sell large machinery, do you sell parts that are packaged?

    14. Do you deliver your products using protective packaging?

     

  • I'm not liable.

    • Is your business in a supply chain that consumes packaging or packaged products (page 4 of the covenant – refer to infographic)?
    • Is your annual turnover $5M or more?

    If the answer to these questions is yes, then your business is liable.

  • What is consumer packaging?

    Consumer packaging are all packages of any material, or combination of materials, for the containment, protection, marketing or handling of consumer products. This includes distribution packaging in business-to-business transactions.
  • I only have distribution packaging.

    Distribution packaging also ends up in the waste stream. Distribution/B2B packaging is within the scope of packaging that needs to be addressed. You will need to review your distribution packaging for possible packaging sustainability improvements or efficiencies.
  • More than half of my business is service / only 10% of my business has packaging.

    Despite packaging being a lower proportion of your overall business operations, the impact of the packaging on the environment still needs to be addressed. If you have minimal packaging that likely means it should not take too much time to review and ensure it has been optimised for efficiency.
  • I don't have control over our packaging?

    Your organisation is still responsible for the packaging it is releasing into the Australian market. Although you may not currently have control over packaging materials, we ask that your organisation look at investigating different packaging options and opening those communications with your supply chain to request more sustainable packaging.

Reviewed 24 August 2020