Changes to Packaging Recycling Standards in New Zealand: PREP Updates and Guidance – National Retail Association

Changes to Packaging Recycling Standards in New Zealand: PREP Updates and Guidance – National Retail Association


The Packaging Forum’s Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) program is undergoing significant updates in response to the New Zealand Ministry for Environment’s Gazette notice and associated standards for kerbside recycling. The changes, effective from February 1, 2024, aim to standardize materials collected and excluded via household kerbside recycling. The ARL team, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is implementing a staged approach to address the uncertainties these changes present to organizations placing packaging on the New Zealand market.

The key updates to the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) include:

  1. Packaging items with paper/cardboard as the primary material with aluminum as a secondary material will be classified as Not Recyclable.
  2. Foil-lined cartons (aseptic), gable-top cartons, and rigid LDPE as primary materials will also be classified as Not Recyclable.

Additionally, changes to recyclability classifications for items/materials previously under review include:

  1. Aluminium foil as a primary material
  2. Rigid PVC as a primary material
  3. Rigid CPET unpigmented as a primary material
  4. Colored transparent rigid PET, classified as Recyclable with Lost Value
  5. Water dissolvable biopolymer as a secondary material on rigid PET, classified as Recyclable with Lost Value

The updates will be supported by a PREP Guidance Document, highlighting differences and similarities between the PREP assessment and the gazette. Organizations applying the ARL to new products after February 1, 2024, must review their PREP assessment against this document to ensure correct ARL application.

The ARL program is also exploring alternate solutions, including voluntary stewardship schemes for caps, lids, tops, and food & beverage cartons. Additionally, metal recyclers are offering drop-off solutions for various metal packaging, excluding aerosols, with ongoing reviews for acceptance in the ARL program.

While there is no deadline for existing artworks to be updated, organizations are advised to assess new projects against the new thresholds when applying the ARL on-pack from February 1, 2024. Future updates to the PREP tool will be made as greater certainty emerges from the NZ Ministry for Environment through the Industry Forum, with timely notice provided for any changes and additional guidance. For further inquiries, organizations are encouraged to contact the ARL team at arl@apco.org.au.