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EU packaging directive pushes targets higher

Higher targets for recycling plastics packaging waste were due to come into force across Europe yesterday.

But so far only Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK have transposed the new European Union (EU) packaging directive into national law.

The new target states that 22.5% of plastics packaging waste should be recycled - the previous target was 15%.

According to EU figures, five countries are already ahead of the new figure - Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg. Bottom of the list were Greece and Portugal, recycling just 3% and 9% respectively.

The established EU member states have until the end of 2008 to meet the target. Recent entrants - mainly central and eastern European countries - have an extension until 2010, while Greece, Ireland and Portugal have a 2011 deadline.

Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "The new recycling targets are a further step on our way towards a more sustainable society. They strengthen the recycling industry.

"I am confident that Member states will to their utmost to implement the new rules swiftly."

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