The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) is undertaking a much-needed national audit of environmental claims and logos to support better information for consumers about recycling.

ACOR Chief Executive Officer Pete Shmigel said the audit across supermarkets, convenience stores and takeaway outlets will identify the range of environmental claims on packaging, and catalogue logos and statements aimed at consumers to assist with recycling.

“We currently have a great range of logos and claims on packaging in Australia that aim to make it easier for people to recycle right, including the relatively new Australian Recycling Label,” Mr Shmigel said.

“ACOR is testing those logos and claims to provide insights that can further help brand owners, policy makers, regulators such as the ACCC, and ultimately consumers to ensure provided information is accurate and understood.

“ACOR will also use the insights to assist the further development of the ‘Recycle Mate’ app.

“Recycle Mate is Australia’s first photo-recognition recycling app and education campaign that enables people to take a photograph of an item and immediately find out where and how it can be correctly recycled.”

Mr Shmigel said Recycle Mate is a project whose initial phase has been funded by the NSW EPA. It is currently undergoing a trial phase in NSW prior to national roll-out funded by the Commonwealth Government.

To complete the audit, ACOR has engaged sustainability consultants Equilibrium.

Equilibrium General Manager Damien Wigley said the audit would entail a sample basket of packaged goods from multiple locations around Australia obtained over different time periods to ensure that a wide cross-section of packaging is tracked and recorded.

“The audit will gather, identify and document more than 300 individual items comprising a sample basket of packaged grocery items,” Mr Wigley said.

“The purpose is to provide an up-to-date, evidence-based, comprehensive and objective analysis of the range of environmental and recycling logos and labels being used in Australia.

“The audit will also be supplemented with desktop research to identify and document the nature and intent of environmental labelling and other logos that are currently being used and promoted in Australia.”

ACOR believes that consumer-friendly and accurate logos and labels are an essential component in improving the quality and lowering the cost of recycling of packaging.