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Packaging law's performance poor

Less than 10% of the packaging that is recycled across the first 15 EU countries is due to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, a study has found.

The EU report estimates that only 2.8 million tonnes of recycled packaging can be directly attributed to the law.

Introduced in 1994, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive aimed to tackle the much-cited problem of excessive packaging waste.

Member states are set material-specific annual recycling targets, but they do not seem to be having much effect.

"The results indicate that among 56.3m tonnes of packaging waste, 34.6m tonnes have been directed from landfill sites and 30.7m tonnes have been recycled," summarised the report.

"However, only a small amount of packaging recovery and recycling is directly related to the effects of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

"Most of the packaging recycling would have taken place in the absence of the directive, either because it is economically profitable or because of pre-existing national legislation or other initiatives.

"The direct effect of the directive in increasing packaging recycling is estimated at around 2.8m tonnes or 9% of total packaging recycling in the EU15."

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