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.