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63% of EU packaging recycled in 2010

According to an analysis of Eurostat data published by trade association Europen, the amount of used packaging sent for final disposal is declining rapidly over the past twelve years.

The recycling of all packaging materials except wood in the EU-27 increased from 55% in 2005 to 63% in 2010. The amount sent for final disposal, i.e. landfill or incineration without energy recovery, fell from 33% to 24% over the same period. The recycling rates differed substantially between the original EU-15 Member States and the EU-12, with respectively 65% and 47% recycling rates in 2010.

The analysis shows a continued decoupling between packaging consumption and disposal in the EU-15. The newer Member States show less clear decoupling, with a slight growth in packaging from 79 kg per capita in 2005 to 84 kg in 2010. Over the same period, the EU-15 showed a decrease from 183 kg to 176 kg.

An earlier assessment of the European Environment Agency (EEA) in November 2012 presented similar findings, in that "packaging waste generation in the EU-15 saw slight relative decoupling from GDP (fig.3) between 1998 and 2007 growing by 11%, compared to a 19% growth in GDP". However, noticing the strong correlation between packaging waste and GDP after the economic downturn of 2008, the EEA concluded that "neither decoupling waste generation from economic growth nor the EU policy objective of waste prevention has as yet been accomplished".

Under the 2004 EU packaging directive, Member States must meet a 55% packaging waste recycling target by dates ranging between 2008 and 2015. Of the 22 member states whose deadlines have now passed, only Hungary, Cyprus, Slovakia and Sweden did not meet the target in 2010, the Europen's analysis shows.


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