Proposed Amendment to Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste Sets Increased Recovery and Recycling Targets

In an effort to prevent or minimise the impact of packaging and packaging waste the European Commission has suggested increased targets for recycling and recovery for European Member States, to be achieved in 2006, in a proposed amendment to the directive on packaging and packaging waste.In an effort to prevent or minimise the impact of packaging and packaging waste the European Commission has suggested increased targets for recycling and recovery for European Member States, to be achieved in 2006, in a proposed amendment to the directive on packaging and packaging waste.


The present Directive of 1994 has had a positive impact on the environment, says the Commission, effectively increasing recycling levels throughout all of Europe. The proposed amendments seek to advance further on these. In 1998 the average recovery rate of packaging and packaging waste for European Member States was 59%, thus reaching the 2001 target of 50-65% proposed by the 1994 Directive. The new proposals suggest that by 2006 recovery percentages should be a minimum of 60-75%.

Member States in 1998 were 5% over the proposed 2001 recycling targets with a total of 50% of packaging being recycled; the Commission’s revision of the Directive now sets a minimum target of 55-70% for recycling. The proposal contains material specific differentiated targets for recycling for glass, plastics, paper/board and metal. Individual recycling targets for these materials have been set in an effort to precisely reflect the costs and benefits of recycling these materials. This move will improve the overall level of environmental protection in Europe, according to the Commission.

“This initiative is designed to enhance the efforts made by the industry and consumers to reduce the amount of packaging in the waste stream,” said Margot Wallström, Environment Commissioner. The revision of the Packaging Directive is intended to create a greater harmonisation of the markets for recycled materials and aims to provide planning security for those investing in recycling infrastructure. These proposals come as a result of inclusive dialogue with stakeholders on packaging waste and are hoped to set all Member States on the same recycling and recovery level.

However the proposals do not address the recommendation made in the Corbey Report in November of this year (see related story) for ‘a policy mix’ to encourage setting targets for prevention and reuse of packaging and packaging waste targets, and the introduction of producer responsibility. The overall packaging waste going to landfill is an issue which European Recycling and Recovery Association (ERRA) (see related story) and the Corbey Report would like to be addressed and subsequently limited, as another means of improving the packaging waste situation. The report says these issues will be addressed as different elements in the Sixth Environment Action Programme.

© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie

Subscribe