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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 Dec 2011

Generation and recycling of packaging waste (CSI 017/WST 002) - Assessment published Dec 2011

This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated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:
csi | decoupling | disposal | recycling | packaging waste | waste
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 017
  • WST 002
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1997-2008
 
Contents
 

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

Key messages

The generation of packaging waste per capita in EU is growing, although there are signs of slowing down or stabilizing in the trend. In 2008 generation of packaging waste was reduced, albeit a high level of 163,5 kg/capita in the EU-27. However, it is difficult to attribute this change either to effective waste prevention (decoupling of waste from GDP) or to the reduction of GDP due to economic downturn (no decoupling).  This slowing down rate could also be attributed to the change of packaging materials, as the largest increase occurs for paper and plastics.

The recycling schemes and economic instruments appear to be quite effective for this waste stream. In 2008, recycling covered 61% of the packaging waste, exceeding the 55% target for 2008 defined in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. However, in many countries there is still room for improvement.

Packaging waste generation per capita and by country

Note: The figure shows the packaging waste generation per capita and by country in the period from 1997 - 2008

Data source:

  • Packaging waste data 2008, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
  • Population data per country, 1997-2008. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011

 

Additional data sources:

  • Switzerland: Abfallmengen und Recycling 2008 im Überblick, 2010
  •   Croatia: Croatian Environment Agency, 2010
  • Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment

     

Downloads and more info

Packaging waste generation per capita and by country

Note: The table shows the packaging waste generation per capita by country 1997 - 2008

Data source:

  • Packaging waste data 2008, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/recycling-rates-for-packaging-waste
  •  Population data per country, 1997-2008. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/packaging-waste-data

 
Additional data sources:

  • Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/data.htm

  • Switzerland: Abfallmengen und Recycling 2008 im Überblick, 2010
  • Croatia: Croatian Environment Agency, 2010

Downloads and more info

Generation of packaging waste and GDP in the EU-15

Note: The figure shows the generation of packaging waste and GDP in the EU-15 countries from 1998-2008

Data source:

  • Packaging waste data 2008, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/recycling-rates-for-packaging-waste
  •  Population data per country, 1997-2008. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/packaging-waste-data
  •  GDP and main components - volumes, EU, 1997-2008 (2011). Millions of euro, chain-linked volumes, reference year 2000 (at 2000 exchange rates). Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011

http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/national-accounts-including-gdp-eurostat

 Additional data sources:

  •  Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/data.htm

 

 

 

Downloads and more info

Generation of packaging waste and GDP in the EU 27

Note: The figure shows the generation of packaging waste and GDP (Gross domestic product) in the EU27

Data source:

  • Packaging waste data 2008, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/recycling-rates-for-packaging-waste
  •  Population data per country, 1997-2008. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/packaging-waste-data
  •  GDP and main components - volumes, EU, 1997-2008 (2011). Millions of euro, chain-linked volumes, reference year 2000 (at 2000 exchange rates). Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011

http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/national-accounts-including-gdp-eurostat

 Additional data sources:

  •  Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/data.htm

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

There are large variations between Member States in the use of packaging per capita(fig. 1 and fig. 2), ranging from 232 kg/capita in Ireland to 40 kg/capita in Bulgaria (2008). The average 2008 figure for the EU-27 was 163.5 kg/capita. There are clear differences between the EU-15 and the EU-12 (newer Member States) reflecting different levels of consumption of packaging. The average EU-15 packaging waste generation was 183.1 kg/capita whereas for the EU-12 the figure was 87.7 kg/capita in 2008. The variations within EU-15 countries are hard to explain. One explanation may be different market shares of reusable packaging; another could be different consumption and production patterns. 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 the European Commission.

Trends in packaging waste generation per capita also vary between the countries (fig. 1 and fig. 2). While some countries (e.g. Ireland, Portugal and Estonia) show a relatively constant increase, others (for example Austria, Netherlands, France, Bulgaria and Slovakia) have been able to stabilise and even reverse the increasing trend in generation.

Although there are significant year to year variations, the general trend in EU-15 shows that amounts of packaging are still rising. Altogether, the packaging waste generation in the EU-15 saw slight relative decoupling from GDP (fig. 3) between 1998 and 2007 growing by 11%, compared to a 19% growth in GDP (expressed in fixed price levels of year 2000) over the same period. However, the impacts of the recent economic downturn can already be observed on the data for 2008: both the GDP and the amount of packaging waste have declined.

Regarding the four main fractions of the packaging waste stream (glass, metals, paper & cardboard, plastics), their total generation and share of the total generation has changed over time. Figure 3 shows that, with some fluctuations, the generation of these materials follows the pattern of the total packaging waste generation per capita. However, the materials mainly responsible for the increase in the total generation are paper and plastic packaging wastes.

Figure 4 shows that the decoupling of packaging waste generation from GDP is more remarkable for EU-27 compared to EU-15 (fig. 3). The reason should be the significant difference in the amount of per/capita generation of packaging waste between the EU-15 and EU-12 countries and relatively lower difference in GDP.

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

Recycling of packaging waste by country, 2008

Note: The figure shows the recycle of packaging waste by country in 2008

Data source:

  • Packaging waste data 2008, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/recycling-rates-for-packaging-waste

 

Additional data sources:

  •  Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/data.htm

Downloads and more info

Treatment of packaging waste in the EU-15

Note: The figure shows the treatment of packaging waste 1997-2008

Data source:

  • Packaging waste data 2008, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011

http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/recycling-rates-for-packaging-waste

Additional data sources:
  • Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/data.htm

Downloads and more info

Treatment of packaging waste in the EU-27

Note: The figure shows the treatment of packaging waste 2005-2008

Data source:

  • Packaging waste data 2008, 1000 tonnes: EUROSTAT. Dataset retrieved on 22 August 2011

http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/external/recycling-rates-for-packaging-waste

Additional data sources:
  • Environmental Data Centre on waste Tables pursuant to Commission Decision 2005/270/EC: DG Environment

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/data.htm

 

 

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

Recycling is a key element in the management of packaging waste.

The minimum target of 25 % recycling of all packaging materials was achieved by all EU-27 member states in 2006. Furthermore, 15 of the 27 Member States had complied with the overall minimum recycling targets for 2008 (fig. 5). In 2008, the average recycling rate for packaging waste was 61% in the EU-27.  The total recycling rate in the Member States in 2008 varied greatly, from 34 % in Cyprus and Romania to 79 % in Belgium.

The total EU-15 recycling rate increased from 46 % in 1997 to 62 % in 2008 (fig. 6). The EU-12 recycling rate increased from 34% in 2005 to 46% in 2008 (derived from fig. 7). As with consumption of packaging per capita, to achieve the targets, several Member States have introduced producer responsibility and established packaging recycling schemes or introduced economic instruments (e.g. taxes, deposit systems). Other countries have improved their existing collection and recycling system.



Table 1: Targets of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

 

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

2011 2.5.3 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

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