Packaging

In 2008 the UK disposed of an estimated 10.7 million tonnes of packaging waste, of which around 65 % (Source NPWD) was recovered. This is a significant achievement when compared to the fact that only 27% of packaging waste was recovered in 1998 (Source publication: e-Digest of Environmental Statistics, March 2006). However, more still needs to be done and Defra will continue working to:

  • minimise the amount of packaging used and so the amount of packaging waste, and
  • ensure that a high proportion of packaging materials are recovered and recycled

The management of packaging and packaging waste is enforced by EC directive 2004/12/EC which seeks to reduce the impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment by introducing recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste and by encouraging minimisation and reuse.

New packaging recycling targets for 2011 and 2012

New packaging waste recovery and recycling targets for the UK for 2011 and 2012, alongside measures to improve the transparency of funding in the existing system and a number of technical changes to improve the operation of the Regulations have been confirmed.

The new targets will ensure that the UK continues to meet EU Directive targets over the next two years. Targets beyond 2012 will be set following the Waste Review, the findings of which are due to be published in Spring 2011.

Material

2011 (%)

2012 (%)

Paper/card

69.5

69.5

Glass

81

81

Aluminium

40

40

Steel

71

71

Plastic

32

32

Wood

22

22

Total recycling

68.1

68.1

Total recovery

74

74

The changes  will revise and  re-define the categories against which accredited exporters and reprocessors must report how they have spent producer funding.  The new regulations will also introduce the ability to set a common format for the business plans which reprocessors and exporters seeking accreditation must already submit.

In addition, government is introducing technical changes which are intended to clarify and update the Regulations. They include two deregulatory changes, one to remove the requirement for independent audit, the other which allows smaller businesses to use a simpler mechanism to calculate their legal obligation, which will save industry an estimated £285,000-£371,000 annually.

Further information

Page last modified: 21 December 2010
Page published: 5 February 2003