UK raises recycling target for packaging

New rules intended to comply with 2001 deadline under EU packaging directive

UK businesses "obligated" under national packaging regulations will have to recover and recycle more packaging next year to ensure that the country complies with a deadline under the 1994 EU packaging directive, the government announced today.

Regulations made by the environment ministry will set a recovery target of 56% and require at least 18% of each packaging material to be recycled in 2001. The current targets are 45% recovery and 13% for each material.

The 2001 targets are slightly higher than the packaging directive's requirement for at least 50% recovery and 15% of each material to be recycled in each EU member state by 2001. This is because the UK regulations only apply to companies that handle over 50 tonnes of packaging and have a turnover of over UK£2m (euros 3.3m).

The 2001 recovery target is slightly lower than first proposed by the environment ministry in August, when it said that obligated firms would have to achieve 58% recovery. The ministry said today that new data now suggested that a 56% target should enable a national recovery rate of 51%. "We estimate that a cushion of 1% (which is around 96,000 tonnes) should be sufficient," environment minister Michael Meacher said in a written statement to parliament.

Follow Up:
UK environment ministry, tel: +44 20 79 44 30 00, and press release.

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