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National Packaging Covenant – Mentor Program
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SAWIA is again providing a mentor program for members to meet their obligations under the National Packaging Covenant. The covenant was first introduced in 1999, as the voluntary component of a co-regulatory arrangement for managing the effects of consumer packaging. It is targeted at product stewardship between key stakeholders in the packaging supply chain and all spheres of government — Australian, State, Territory and Local. The regulatory underpinning is provided by the National Environment Protection Measure on Used Packaging Materials (NEPM), designed to deal with free riders and non-signatories and applied at the jurisdictional (state) level. This means if you don’t sign onto the ‘voluntary’ covenant you risk prosecution under the regulatory NEPM. The covenant was extensively reviewed throughout 2004, revised and significantly strengthened and came into effect on 14 July 2005 for a term of 5 years. The revised covenant commits signatories to a national recycling target of 65% for packaging, and no further increases in packaging waste disposed to landfill by the end of 2010. It is designed to minimise the environmental impacts arising from the disposal of used packaging, conserve resources through better design and production processes and facilitate the re-use and recycling of used packaging materials. An area of contention in the first covenant, and on which SAWIA lobbied strongly, was the different thresholds that applied across the states for businesses to be ‘caught’ by the NEPM. This has been changed so now there is one set of rules that apply across Australia, as follows:
• If a winery has domestic sales of $5M or greater then the NEPM will apply unless you sign the covenant. • If you have domestic sales of less than $2M the NEPM does not apply. • If you are in between – over $2M but under $5M, there will be a threshold trigger decided – in June 2006! A number of members have resigned the covenant either because they are over the $5M or because they wish to continue their work in product stewardship and are committed to environmental improvements in their business.
A workshop was held on Thursday 8 December and a collective action plan is in the process of development. Members are invited to join the mentor program from a compliance view, or because they wish to consider better design, re-use and recycling of packaging materials. Please contact Linda Bowes on 8222 9277 or email for further information.