The Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) is now being updated to reflect the standardisation of materials collected and excluded via household kerbside recycling.

This update is in line with the NZ Ministry for Environment’s recently released Gazette notice and associated Standard materials for kerbside collections: Guidance for territorial authorities document. The date of implementation of the gazette is 1 February 2024.

APCO has been working closely with the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council and other key stakeholders, including The Packaging Forum to better understand the impacts of these changes on packaging. APCO understand the uncertainty these changes present to organisations placing packaging on the market in New Zealand. Therefore, a staged approach has been adopted for implementation in the ARL program.

The ARL team has scoped the required PREP updates to ensure the platform reflects the MfE guidance and has shared this communication for ARL program users in preparation for assessing packaging for the New Zealand market from 1 February 2024.

Alternate Solution Options

New voluntary stewardship schemes are being introduced for caps, lids and tops and food & beverage cartons by The Packaging Forum, allowing stewardship program members to label as conditionally recyclable following the schemes’ approval in the ARL program.

We are also advised that the network of metal recyclers will offer drop-off solutions for a range of metal packaging including foil containers but excluding aerosols. We will continue to review these options for acceptance in the ARL program as alternative destinations.

Kerbside Collections

Please note we are aware that there are materials which will be collected at kerbside (plastic containers which meet the size thresholds 1,2 & 5) which we are being advised are not recyclable due to colour or pigment. We will be working with the NZ FGC to verify this guidance as a matter of urgency.

PREP Guidance Document

The changes outlined in the gazette have also been presented in a guidance document downloadable from PREP. This will highlight the areas of difference and similarity between the PREP assessment and the gazette.

Any organisation applying the ARL to new product following 1 February 2024 must review their PREP assessment against this document to ensure the correct ARL is applied.

Future Threshold Updates

As greater certainty emerges from the NZ Ministry for Environment through the Industry Forum, we will update the PREP tool accordingly. We will provide notice of these changes and any further guidance as they are received.

Timeline for artwork updates

There is currently no deadline provided by the Ministry for existing artworks to be updated. However, organisations should assess all new projects against these new thresholds when applying the ARL on pack from 1 February 2024.