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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Generation and recycling of packaging waste / Generation and recycling of packaging waste (CSI 017/WST 002) - Assessment published Jan 2008

Generation and recycling of packaging waste (CSI 017/WST 002) - Assessment published Jan 2008

This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated
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Generic metadata

Topics:

Waste and material resources Waste and material resources (Primary topic)

Tags:
waste | csi
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 017
  • WST 002
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Are we preventing the generation of packaging waste?

Key messages

There is a general increase in per capita quantities of packaging being put on the market. This development is seen both in the old and in the new EU Member States. This is not in line with the objective of the Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste, which aims at reducing the production of packaging waste.

However, the EU target to recycle 25% of packaging waste in 2001 has been met and significantly exceeded. In 2006 the average recycling rate over the EU-27 reached 57 %, already exceeding the 2008 target of 55%. Differences in performance of individual countries suggest further potential for improvement, however.

Generation of packaging waste and GDP in the EU-15

Note: N/A

Data source:

Packaging waste 2006, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT, Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment : Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment Real GDP growth rate - Growth rate of GDP volume - percentage change on previous year: EUROSTAT

Downloads and more info

Packaging waste generation per capita and by country

Note: Empty spaces means that data is not available

Data source:

DG Environment and the World Bank

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Packaging waste generation per capita and by country

Note: Empty cells means no data available

Data source:

DG Environment and the World Bank

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

While there are significant year to year variations, the general trend in EU-15 shows that amounts of packaging are still rising. Packaging waste generation in the EU-15 saw slight decoupling from GDP (fig.3) between 1998 and 2006 growing by 15.5%, compared to a nearly 20% real growth in GDP over the same period. However, all the decoupling occurred in the first years of that period; since 2001 growth in packaging waste has actually been more rapid than growth in GDP.

Generation of four main fractions of the packaging waste stream (glass, metals, paper & cardboard, plastics), meanwhile, has seen more sustained relative decoupling over the whole period, growing at half the rate of GDP .The apparent rapid growth in total packaging between 2001 and 2003 may have had methodological causes - especially concerning the coverage of wood packaging. In 1997 only 6 countries reported wood packaging, with other countries following suit gradually in later years. Since 2003 most EU-15 countries have provided complete sets of data.

Trends in packaging waste generation per capita vary between the countries (fig 2). While some countries (e.g. Germany and Portugal) show a relatively constant increase, others (e.g. France,  Austria) have been able to stabilise and even reverse the increases in generation - albeit often at a high level. The trend is less clear in the data reported from Scandinavian countries due to the above mentioned changes in data reporting in that period, e.g. the reporting changes can be seen as sharp increases.

There are large variations between Member States in the use of packaging per capita, ranging from 241 kg/capita in Ireland to 95 kg/capita in Greece and even 56 kg/capita in Bulgaria and Slovakia (2006). The average 2006 figure for the EU-27 was 165 kg/capita. There are clear differences between EU-15 and New Member States reflecting different levels of consumption of packaging. The variations within EU-15 countries are harder to explain, however they also seem to reflect differences in production and consumption patterns. One example may be different market shares of reusable packaging. It is also possible that some Member States may have uneven coverage of data collection or slightly differing definitions of packaging and understanding of which types of packaging waste need to be reported to DG Environment.

Specific policy question: Do we manage the generated waste (packaging) in a sustainable way?

Recycling of packaging waste by country, 2004

Note: N/A

Data source:

DG Environment

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Treatment of packaging waste

Note: N/A

Data source:

DG Environment

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Recycling of packaging waste by country, 2002

Note: N/A

Data source:

DG Environment

Downloads and more info

Treatment of packaging waste

Note: N/A

Data source:

DG Environment

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

The minimum target of 25 % recycling of all packaging materials in 2001 was achieved by a good margin in virtually all EU-15 countries. By 2006, 13 of the 27 Member States had already complied with the overall minimum recycling target for 2008.

The total EU-15 recycling rate increased from 45 % in 1997 to 59 % in 2006. The EU-12 recycling rate increased from 34% in 2005 to 40% in 2006. As with consumption of packaging per capita, the total recycling rate in the Member States in 2006 varied greatly, from 25 % in Cyprus to 79 % in Belgium.

To achieve the targets, several Member States have introduced producer responsibility and established packaging recycling schemes. Other countries have improved their existing collection and recycling system.

Table 1: Targets of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

By weight Targets in 94/62/EC Targets in 2004/12/EC
Overall recovery target min. 50 %, max. 65 % min. 60 %
Overall recycling target min. 25 %, max. 45 % min. 55 %, max.80 %
Year to achieve targets 30 June 2001 31 December 2008

Note: Greece, Ireland, Portugal and the EU-12 member states have individual derogations to meet the new targets. Depending on country, the targets will have to be reached 3 to 7 years later.

Source: Official Journal L 365 , 31/12/1994 P. 0010 - 0023 and Official Journal L 047 , 18/02/2004 P. 0026 - 0032

 

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Jasmina Bogdanovic

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Filed under: ,

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100