EUROPEN releases report on European package recycling rates.

Association sees evolution in packaging recycling rates but future targets remain.

February 26, 2014
RTGE Staff
Legislation & Regulations Paper

The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) has released an in-depth analysis of official EU data on the evolution of packaging waste rates from 1998 through 2011. EUROPEN says that the report, titled Packaging & Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011, demonstrates the packaging supply chain’s commitment toward Europe’s resource efficiency objectives, which is reflected in yearly increases in packaging recycling rates and a steady decline in packaging waste being landfilled.

“The launch of the report is timely for EUROPEN members and stakeholders amid the current European Commission review of the EU targets in the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) and the forthcoming proposals for new EU packaging targets in May 2014. The report’s facts and figures will further inform the discussion and will help to establish achievable targets for all packaging materials,” says Virginia Janssens, managing director of EUROPEN.

Recovery rates—and in particular recycling rates—in the EU-27 continue to increase, as the amount of used packaging sent for final disposal is declining rapidly. By the end of 2011, 64 percent of packaging placed on the market in EU-27 was being recycled, which exceeded the 55 percent minimum recycling target currently set by the PPWD. In the older Member States (EU-15), 65 percent of the packaging placed on the market was recycled; 51 percent was recycled in the newer Member States (EU-12).

“One of the key challenges is to bridge the gap between the newer and the older member states in terms of waste management performance. EUROPEN therefore calls for the full implementation and enforcement of EU waste legislation across Europe, and a tailored approach in setting realistic targets for all packaging materials in the revised PPWD. This must take into account current packaging material recycling performance and the Member States’ varying waste management capabilities,” adds Janssens.

In a statement, the organization says it is strongly in support of maintaining a separate regulatory approach for packaging under the PPWD.

The PPWD, with its requirement for member states to establish return, collection and recovery systems for used packaging, remains essential for ensuring that packaging, and post-consumer packaging in particular, is collected separately to meet existing and future recycling and recovery targets across the EU. In order to ensure that recycling rates continue to increase, a revised PPWD should also contain binding minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging waste, as well as harmonized definitions in EU waste legislation.

The report can be downloaded at