The fall is being driven by higher recycling and recovery levels in the EU 27 member states, according to the European Organisation for Packaging & the Environment (EUROPEN) who carried out the research.

In 2008, the member states sent just over 17M tonnes of packaging to landfill. Despite an ageing population and a trend towards smaller households, over the 11-year period the amount of packaging placed on the market (excluding wood) rose by just 10%.

The report Packaging & Packaging Waste Statistics in Europe 1998-2008 also found that packaging waste from households and commercial sources accounts for only 3% per cent of total waste.

Commenting on the findings, EUROPEN’s managing director, Julian Carroll, said: “The data supports our view that the 1994 Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste is one of the most successful pieces of EU environmental legislation.”

The EU Directive set a packaging recycling target of 55% to be reached in 12 member states by 2008, with the remainder to reach the same target between 2011 and 2015.

By 2008, three of the remainder had passed the 55% target and the majority of the rest were approaching or already beyond a 50% recycling rate.

Maxine Perella

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