The End is Near for EPS Packaging in Australia

EPS Packaging

Several our clients have been asking about the future of EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) in single use packaging.

All Australian governments, federal, state, territory and local, recognise the need to reduce waste and increase our recycling rates. As outlined in the National Plastics Plan, taking responsibility for our waste in some instances will mean phasing out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics through design, innovation or by using alternative materials.

Problematic and Unnecessary

Following consultation with government and industry, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has identified EPS in certain consumer applications as a problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic. APCO identified EPS loose fill and single use moulded EPS in packaging as problematic because they are not recyclable through kerbside collection systems, there are very limited drop-off services available to consumers, and being lightweight and fragile, EPS can have a significant impact on the environment when littered.

EPS continues to be one of the most prevalent fractions of marine debris and litter in surveyed waterways.

Dates to Remember

There is a proposed industry-led phase out to apply to EPS:

  • loose fill (by July 2022)
  • single use moulded EPS in consumer packaging (by July 2022)
  • consumer food and beverage containers (by December 2022).

Fast-tracked phase outs will not apply to:

  • EPS used for business-to-business packaging, such as fresh produce boxes specialist packaging used in medical applications, for example, organ transport or pharmaceuticals
  • EPS used in building and construction
  • business-to-consumer packaging where there is a demonstrated and effective reuse model in operation, for example bulk cold home-delivered meal services.