The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has released its Australasian Recycling Label Consumer Insights Report for financial year 2023.

The report, which studied consumer recycling attitudes in both Australia and New Zealand, reveals that 74% of Australians consider recycling as the best thing they can do to improve the environment.

The APCO survey also shows that 61% of Australians believe recycling to be more environmentally impactful than reusable shopping bags while 43% consider it more impactful than refillable containers.

Despite the majority of the surveyed citizens considering recycling as impactful, 50% of Australian households still find it confusing as to what can and can’t be recycled at home, and two-thirds of them said they want more information on the recycling process.

Packaging labels are said to be the most common place consumers look for recycling advice, with 62% of Australians looking at least once while 52% would look to the signage on their bins or through the internet.

The data reveals that 83% of Australians think home recycling is convenient.

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In New Zealand, 76% consider recycling as the most helpful action towards the environment and 29% of them wanted to have access to a larger range of bins/disposal services.

Recycling is considered more impactful than reusable supermarket bags by 57% and refillable containers by 48%.

The survey shows that 50% of New Zealanders are also confused about what can and can’t be recycled and 69% of them wanted more information on how to recycle.

APCO CEO Chris Foley said: “The sustainability of the packaging system – what our packaging is made of and whether it goes on to a new life or ends up in landfill – remains a pressing concern for Australians and New Zealanders.

“This year, the closure of Australia’s much-loved REDcycle soft plastics stewardship programme presented a challenge to community confidence in Australia’s recycling system. While many predicted a significant decline in consumer engagement, this has not been the case. Positively, consumers are as engaged with recycling as ever – though there is still much work to be done.”

The national environmental ministers of Australia have agreed to develop new packaging standards to expedite the country’s transition towards a circular economy.