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December 2007

Tougher targets for packaging waste set in United Kingdom

More packaging would be recovered and recycled under proposals set out in a consultation published by Environment Minister Joan Ruddock.

New business targets would come into effect in January 2008 to help the UK meet its obligations under the EC Packaging Directive. Higher targets are proposed for 2009 and beyond to increase the level of recovery and recycling.

After 2008, it is at the discretion of Member States to set targets beyond the minimum required by the Packaging Directive. The UK has made clear that its aim is to continue to improve performance on packaging waste because of the environmental benefits this brings.

Joan Ruddock said, “Since the introduction of the UK Packaging Regulations, packaging recycling has improved significantly, from just 27% in 1997 to over 57% last year. But there is much more to be done. Further cuts in packaging waste are an essential part of reducing our reliance on landfill and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU minimum recycling and recovery targets are 55% and 60% respectively. The Government’s preferred option would increase the recycling target to 55.7% in 2008, 56.8% in 2009 and 58.4% in 2010, and the recovery target to 60.6%, 61.8% and 63.4% in the same years.