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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Cover of National Packaging Covenant Council annual report 2003

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National Packaging Covenant Council annual report 2003

National Packaging Covenant Council,
Environment Australia, July 2003

PDF file

About the annual report

Over the last twelve months the National Packaging Covenant has substantially increased its signatory base. For example, 110 organisations became signatories, including a number of individual local governments, bringing Covenant representation in this sector to 30%.

With a total of 608 signatories, the number of action plans submitted for assessment significantly increased as new signatories joined and others submitted annual reports and Year 2/3 plans. This added considerably to the Secretariat’s workload particularly given the need to follow up the revisions requested for a majority of action plans submitted.

The Covenant Council Review and Evaluation Working Group met every quarter and assessed approximately 20% of the registered plans. This process was put in place by Council to examine the adequacy of organization’s action plan and commitments. The general finding was that overall, the action plans were improving in quality, however, there are a number of areas where plans are not consistently meeting of all assessment criteria, particularly the inclusion of measurable performance indicators and application of the Environmental Code of Packaging.

The Covenant Council accepted the recommendations from the National Kerbside Recycling Group on how transitional funding could be applied to litter reduction. The National Kerbside Recycling agreed the transportation costs from regional and remote areas is an important issue affecting kerbside schemes. A number of jurisdictions intend to address this issue by undertaking transportation and logistics studies during 2003/2004.

During the course of the year $1.5 million from the Transitional Funding arrangements was distributed to various jurisdictions to support the development of Best Practice Kerbside and related programs.

This financial year also saw the appointment of Mr Ed Cordner to the position of Executive Officer of the Covenant Council. Mr Cordner has been very active promoting and representing the Covenant in various forums and has been invaluable in providing assistance to many Covenant signatories.

In late 2002 the Environment Protection and Heritage Council referred the issue of plastic shopping bags to the Covenant Council to investigate the issues associated with their use and to develop recommendations on the way forward. The eventual outcome included the development of a Retailers’ Code of Practice for the Management of Plastic Bags, underlining the effectiveness of the Covenant Council as a collaborative forum and a great working example of the principle of product stewardship. A case study on the plastic bag process is included at the end of the report.

The formal process and the development of the Terms of Reference for the Independent Evaluation of the Covenant commenced in the later half of this year. Covenant Council also agreed to fund the Australian Local Government Association to undertake an independent, but complementary review of the Covenant, specifically from a local government perspective. It is expected these evaluations will be completed and peer reviewed by the end of February 2004 followed by a period of stakeholder consultation. Ministers will then meet in May to consider all aspects of the Covenant and decide on the way forward for managing packaging waste in the future.

Overall, after a slow start, this financial year saw the Covenant continue to gain momentum and attract more support from companies than any previous agreement covering packaging and packaging waste. Experiences of three Covenant signatories are highlighted in case studies at the back of the report.

See also