A EUROPEN analysis of official EU data shows that higher recovery and recycling rates are primarily driving this diversion.

In 2010, 76% of the packaging placed on the market in the EU-27 was recovered against 67% in 2005. Meanwhile recycling rates rose from 55% in 2005 to 63% in 2010. During this year, just under 18.7m tonnes of used packaging were sent for final disposal across the EU 27 member states.

The statistics also reveal that growth in packaging waste is now clearly decoupling from economic growth.

Despite a 17.5% per capita increase in household consumption expenditure on food and non-alcoholic drinks between 2000 and 2010, the amount of non-wood packaging placed on the market in the original EU-15 member states rose by just 5.6% over the same period.

Despite this, the amount of packaging put into circulation in the new member states increased from 79kg per capita in 2005 to 84kg in 2010 – in the EU-15 it was reduced from 183kg to 176kg over the same period. The net effect across EU-27 was a reduction from 160kg in 2005 to 157kg in 2010.

According to EUROPEN, the findings reflect how the packaging supply chain is utilising less material to get products to consumers in good condition.

Maxine Perella

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