Press Release
18 Feb 2014

NEW Packaging & Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011

Positive evolution in packaging recycling rates but realistic future targets still key,

shows latest EUROPEN report

18 February 2014 – EUROPEN’s new in-depth analysis of official EU data on the evolution of packaging waste rates (1998-2011) demonstrates the packaging supply chain’s continued commitment towards Europe’s resource efficiency objectives. This is reflected in yearly increases in packaging recycling rates and a steady decline in packaging waste going to landfill.

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”, stated Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of EUROPEN, on the announcement of the organisation’s updated report on packaging & packaging waste data for 1998-2011.

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% of packaging placed on the market in EU-27 was being recycled, largely exceeding the 55% minimum recycling target currently set by the PPWD. In the older Member States (EU-15), 65% of the packaging placed on the market was recycled; 51% was recycled in the newer Member States (EU-12) 1, but the PPWD targets do not apply to these countries until 2012 or later.

                    EU-15 Old Member States                                             EU-12 ‘New’ Member States

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”, added Ms Janssens.

EUROPEN strongly supports 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.

Further information on EUROPEN’s views on the EU Targets review is below or on our website. EUROPEN’s in-depth analysis of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics for the period 1998-2011 is also available free of charge on the EUROPEN website.

[1] For comparison purposes, EUROPEN analysis sometimes shows data for “EU-12” separately: these are the Member States that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007.

Read EUROPEN’s position paper on the EU waste management targets here
Read EUROPEN’s position paper on EPR for post-consumer packaging here
Read EUROPEN’s guiding principles on EPR for post-consumer packaging here

For all enquiries, please contact:
Virginia Janssens
Managing Director
T: +32 2 736 36 00

Notes for Editors:
EUROPEN -- the European Organization for packaging and the Environment -- is an EU industry association in Brussels presenting the opinion of the packaging supply chain in Europe on issues related to packaging and the environment, without favouring any specific material or system. EUROPEN members are comprised of multinational corporate companies spanning the packaging value chain (raw material producers, converters and brand owners) plus five national packaging organizations all committed to continuously improving the environmental performances of packaged products, in collaboration with their suppliers and customers.