UK announces annual packaging waste targets

New targets for recovery, recycling set; data for crucial 2001 achievement levels remain elusive

The UK environment ministry yesterday announced new targets for increasing the proportion of packaging waste that businesses must recover or recycle. In its annual target-setting exercise, the ministry has decided that this year recovery must reach 59% and material-specific recycling 19%. These targets are marginally more ambitious than last year's, which were 56% and 18% respectively.

Of greater interest than the 2002 goals is the question of whether last year's were met. The 2001 targets are crucial because compliance with these would mean that the UK has succeeded in meeting an important EU deadline under the 1994 packaging waste directive. This stipulates that, by 2001, member states had to achieve a recovery rate of 50%, a general recycling rate of 25% and 15% material-specific recycling.

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