UK to recover nearly five million tonnes of packaging waste this year

Under new targets for 2002, announced by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), UK businesses will have to recover 59% of packaging waste, and carry out 19% material-specific recycling of packaging waste.

Both levels have risen by one percentage point on last year’s targets. In 2000, 36% of packaging waste was recycled, and 42% recovered – an improvement of 12% since 1998, said Environment Minister Michael Meacher.

Companies that are obligated under the packaging regulations are those that handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging per year, have an annual turnover of £2 million, and carry out activities such as manufacturing raw materials for packaging, convert materials into packaging, sell packaging to the final user, or import packaging materials into the UK.

“In 2001 we had to achieve at least 50% recovery, 25% recycling and 15% recycling for each material under the EC directive on packaging and packaging waste,” said Meacher. On the assumption that the UK did meet these targets, the latest packaging waste goals should mean that nearly five million tonnes of material will be recovered this year, he said.

The new rise in the targets has come about due to an increase in the amount of packaging data reported by businesses covered by the packaging regulations, explained Meacher. “That will help us meet our challenging domestic recycling targets and the likely higher targets coming from Europe,” he said.

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