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You are here: Home / Media / News / Waste from packaging still not under control

Waste from packaging still not under control

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Hard targets needed if EU policy objectives on cutting packaging waste volumes are to be met
Specific targets rather than general objectives are needed if policies concerning packaging waste are to succeed, a report released today by the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen states.

The 'Effectiveness of Waste Packaging Policies in Selected Countries' report analyses the performance of Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and UK in terms of their compliance with the EU directive on packaging waste. The report evaluates each country's performance in relation to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the key policy initiative in this area.

The results show that the Directive has most impact where hard targets have been set. EU targets led to a marked increase in the recycling of packaging waste across all the countries studied.

However, overall volumes of packaging waste actually increased in the countries by 7% between 1997 and 2001. In Ireland, packaging waste increased by 36%. The report suggests that the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive fails in its main objective because hard targets have not been set for the volumes of waste packaging created.

"Despite considerable success with recycling, policy in this area has some way to go. We need to step up the focus on waste generation. Targets would make policymakers and the public more aware that the ultimate goal is to avoid waste in the first place," says Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA.

For recycling packaging waste, Austria comes out top in the league tables going beyond the Directive's targets. Similarly, Denmark and the UK have met their obligations. Ireland, the highest producer of packaging waste per person in the EU (214kg per person annually compared with 122kg in Austria), has nevertheless met its targets for recycling packaging waste.

Report: Effectiveness of packaging waste management systems in selected countries

Brochure: Policy effectiveness evaluation

Notes for Editors:

Policy Effectiveness Evaluations
Policy effectiveness evaluation raises questions about environmental policies: Are policies working? Are they worth the money invested in them, and if not how can they be improved?

The EEA has identified policy effectiveness evaluation as a priority area, aiming to measure and to demonstrate the results of policies in order to justify them against broader policy objectives, and thus to support informed decision making. With the aim of gaining practical experience in doing policy effectiveness evaluations and to provide support in selected policy areas, the EEA has carried out pilot studies on the effectiveness of packaging waste management systems, and on wastewater policies.

About the EEA

The European Environment Agency is the leading public body in Europe dedicated to providing sound, independent information on the environment to policy-makers and the public. The EEA has been operational in Copenhagen since 1994.

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