Australia Post Transitions into Recycled Plastic Packaging

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By Published On: December 20, 20210 Comments

Australia Post is updating its entire range of plastic satchels with recycled plastics as part of its pledge at the National Plastics Summit.

All plastic satchels will no longer include virgin plastics, which is a step further towards its goals in the National Plastics Summit. The pledge was made in March 2020 – the move plays the part in “fulfilling the third 2025 National Packaging Target” – to have an average of 50 percent of recycled content included in its packaging. This goal has been fulfilled four years early, the business shared.

Australia Post has confirmed that it will transition over 200 of its plastic satchels in the move. The new range will be manufactured in Australia and overseas.

“Every year our customers use and post millions of Australia Post and StarTrack branded satchels, so transitioning these to contain recycled plastic makes it easier for our customers and business to lessen their impact on the environment,” said Susan Mizrahi, the Chief Sustainability Officer at Australia Post.

“Not only does using recycled plastic increase the use of recycled materials and give used plastic another life, research shows it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, non-renewable resource use and water consumption as well.”

This change is underpinned by an independent Life Cycle Assessment. “This work to transition our satchel range began in 2019, yet it does not stop here,” Mizrahi continued. “We are focussed on making recycling satchels easier for our customers, including adding re-useable recycled satchels to our range. Additionally, earlier this year we piloted a soft plastic recycling program in partnership with REDcycle in 12 of our Post Offices in NSW and are working closely with Licensed Post Offices across the country to extend access to this service.”

This change coincides with a recent upset by small businesses across Australia, who claim that Australia Post was penalising them for using eco-friendly packaging from brands like Hero Packaging.

Earlier in December, Hero Packaging – a compostable packaging company that serves more than 40,00 businesses, including Lush Cosmetics and CUE Clothing Co. –  shared a post on Instagram about an increase in shipping costs from Australia Post. “Have you seen or felt the effects of Australia Post’s recent pricing changes?” the Instagram post read. “As of the 1st of November, Australia Post implemented new rules around using your own packaging when shipping your products.”

In an interview with Smart Company, the Co-Founder of Hero Packaging, Anaita Sarkar, said that businesses were forced to pay up anywhere from $6 – $10 extra per parcel as a result of these changes.

In an online petition on Change.Org, more than 26,000 signatures were signed to backtrack the changes. “Signed! This update is discriminatory. So many Australians trying to do better in their businesses for the sake of all of our futures and are now being penalised!” said one user. ” I want to use my own hero packaging but I’ve been overcharged for the small mailers even though they’re the same size as Australia post small mailers,” wrote another.

Australia Post denied the price increase and explained that there is a national flat fee for parcels under 5KGs. If the item is above this weight, it will be priced based on its dimensions, weight and destination. “For customers using their own packaging, Australia Post will charge on the greater of cubic or deadweight,” a spokesperson told Smart Company. “Most items sent with Australia Post are charged the same regardless of packaging type, however, if an item is quite large or unusually shaped, the price may be higher when using your own packaging.”

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Heather Bone