What is Product Stewardship?

Product stewardship acknowledges those involved in designing, manufacturing and selling products have a responsibility to ensure those products, materials and related services are managed in a way that reduces their environmental and human health impacts throughout the life-cycle and across the supply chain.

In other words, those organisations that place products on the market play a proactive role in eliminating and/or reducing the negative impacts associated with those products. Producer responsibility across the lifecycle is at the core of effective product stewardship.

A comprehensive approach to product stewardship aims to drive environmentally beneficial outcomes through good design and clean manufacturing, including the use of components and materials that are free from unsafe chemicals, as well as easier to recover, reuse, repair and recycle.

Product stewardship provides a clear pathway for businesses to operationalise circular economy objectives by designing-out waste and pollution, prolonging the life and value of products and materials, and maximising the use of renewable, restorative, regenerative and recycled materials.

Product Stewardship Gateway

Visit the Product Stewardship Gateway to view all existing and emerging product stewardship initiatives in Australia.  The database includes information about each initiative and publicly reported annual environmental, social, and economic performance data.

Please email the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence if you have a product stewardship initiative that can be added to the Gateway or have an enquiry about the Gateway database – info@stewardshipexcellence.com.au





In development


Battery Stewardship Council


Regulation and Accreditation

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 provides for voluntary, co-regulatory and mandatory product stewardship schemes. Voluntary schemes can operate independently of Government, or, apply for accreditation.

Accreditation of Voluntary Schemes

If successfully accredited, schemes can use a government product stewardship logo.

Use of the logo allows schemes to promote the recognition and credibility that comes from government accreditation. This provides an incentive for industry to seek accreditation of their schemes and will provide a basis for consumers to identify accredited voluntary schemes.

Co-regulatory Schemes

The co-regulatory approach uses a combination of industry action and supporting Government regulation to achieve outcomes specified in rules, such as recycling outcomes for products.

Mandatory Product Stewardship

Mandatory product stewardship is used where other types of product stewardship have been considered and found unsuitable, or where mandatory arrangements would deliver greater benefit to the community.

Mandatory rules may require individuals or organisations involved in the life of a product to take actions that relate to the objects of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020.

More information on regulation of Product Stewardship is available here.

Ministers Priority Product List

The Minister’s Priority List names products and materials that need urgent product stewardship action.

The list signals that the Minister may consider regulatory measures if industry does not act. Regulatory measures are set out in the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020. Listing products gives industry and the public certainty and transparency about potential regulation. The published list details recommended actions and timeframes the relevant industries can take to reduce the possibility of future government regulation of such products. Those steps could include voluntary stewardship.

The Centre of Excellence provides advice to the Minister on list priorities. The list is reviewed and updated annually.

A number of products that were on the 2022-23 list are not on the 2023-24 list because the government is progressing regulation for these categories. This is because industry has made insufficient progress to better manage the environmental impacts of these products since they were first listed.  They include photovoltaic systems, electrical and electronic products, problematic and unnecessary single use plastics, and oil containers.

The 2023-24 priority product list includes:

  • Clothing Textiles
  • Tyres
  • Plastics in health care products in hospitals
  • Mattresses
  • Child car seats

More information about the Minister’s Priority List can be found here:


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