Call for ‘realistic’ EU packaging targets

The European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) has called for a "realistic" approach to European Union packaging targets, stating that "tailored" efforts are still needed to help some member states reach targets.

EUROPEN, a trade body that represents members such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Chanel, Carlsberg and Colgate-Palmolive, published its views in its latest report entitled ‘Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011’.

The overall recycling rate in the EU-27 increased slightly to around 64% percent in 2011, from 63.3% in 2010, according to official EU data.

With an average recycling rate of around 51% for the member states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, tailored efforts are still needed to help some of them meet current EU targets, according to EUROPEN.

The launch of the report is timely as it has been unveiled while the European Commission is currently reviewing EU packaging recycling targets in the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).

EUROPEN managing director Virginia Janssens said: “One of the key challenges is to bridge the gap between the newer and the older member states in terms of waste management performance.

“EUROPEN therefore calls for the full implementation and enforcement of EU waste legislation across Europe, and a tailored approach in setting realistic targets for all packaging materials in the revised PPWD. This must take into account current packaging material recycling performance and the member states’ varying waste management capabilities.”

The body also urged the European Commission to explicitly require the separate collection of post-consumer packaging for recycling and recovery with the aim of optimising recycling opportunities in a manner as convenient for the consumer as possible.

EUROPEN also supports the EC’s roadmaps to apply incentives for citizens to separate household waste (e.g. pay-as-you-throw, landfill gate fees).

It also stated that the revised Directive should enhance industry’s capacity to carry out its extended producer responsibility (EPR) obligations Europe-wide, which will help to drive higher recycling rates across the EU.

Liz Gyekye

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