Reliable statistics on trends in packaging consumption and waste are notoriously thin on the ground. Before the European Commission delayed plans to revise the 1994 EU packaging directive (ENDS Daily 7 June), Europen and other packaging industry organisations argued repeatedly that there was too little data to justify changes at this stage (ENDS Daily 26 January).
Summarising a paper to be published shortly by the Association for Sustainable Use and Recovery of Resources in Europe (Assurre), Europen said that all the available data pointed to the same trend: a stabilisation of packaging consumption and a strong decrease in packaging going to final disposal in waste landfills.
While acknowledging that large gaps remained in Assure's data, Europen said that the six countries covered represented over half of packaging waste arising in the EU in 1997 and could therefore be considered a representative sample.
What the figures meant, Europen added, was that the "so-called mountain of packaging waste is continuously shrinking and the packaging chain has already achieved the sustainable target of an absolute decoupling of packaging waste disposal from economic growth".
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