Consumer group CHOICE has collected and catalogued the packaging materials that come with some of Australia's most popular appliances, to find out which products have the best and worst packaging sustainability.
CHOICE's analysis included packaging from 38 kettles, air fryers and stick vacuums from popular brands such as Breville, Phillips and Dyson.
"While packaging helps protect our products, non-recyclable materials end up in landfill and have long-term negative impacts on the environment. Businesses need to be doing everything they can to ensure their packaging is as sustainable as possible, including getting rid of non-recyclable foam materials such as polystyrene," says CHOICE journalist Andy Kollmorgen.
"Unfortunately, our findings show that manufacturers need to be doing much more when it comes to eliminating non-recyclable packaging. Just one of the 38 products we analysed had fully recyclable packaging materials," says Kollmorgen.
CHOICE calculated the percentage of recyclable components for each product to find the best and the worst. The higher the percentage, the more recyclable components the packaging contains.
CHOICE also found that most manufacturers are failing to clearly explain which packaging components are recyclable and what people should do with them.
"Our review shows that manufacturers need to lift their game when it comes to communicating recyclability to customers through package labelling or other instructions. It's left up to consumers to navigate a confusing array of recycling symbols and figure out if the packaging is recyclable or not, which only impedes the recycling efforts." says Kollmorgen.
In November 2022, CHOICE hosted a review of 38 different product packaging materials with the help of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation's (APCO) and the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP).
The product's packaging components were evaluated for recyclability against the APCO's Sustainable Packaging Guidelines.
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