Incineration with energy recovery can be counted towards packaging waste recovery targets in a deal agreed between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers in December.

The issue has been one of the main areas of debate during negotiations on the proposal to amend the 1994 Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (94/62), following a judgement of the European Court of Justice in February 2003. The judgement stated that packaging burned in municipal waste incinerators should not be classed as disposal, regardless of whether energy recovery was involved. This agreement to the contrary has angered
environmental groups, who feel it sends the wrong signal about the waste hierarchy, which places recovery and recycling higher up the chain than incineration.

Recovery, recycling and material specific targets were also agreed, as follows: 60 % recovery target (no maximum level is set); 55-80 % recycling target; and Material specific targets for glass (60%); paper (60%); metals (50%); plastics (22.5%) and wood (15%).

The targets are to be achieved by 2008, although Greece, Ireland and Portugal have derogations until 2011. The Commission is due to propose deadlines for the accession countries in a separate dossier.

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