The EU has announced it will be reviewing its waste directive to include new targets for packaging, and is gathering views from member states.
Sarah Nelen, a senior official of the European Commission’s environment directorate, said at a Euractiv event last week that 70% of packaging should be recyclable by 2030. But material-specific targets are also needed, according to Nelen.
The main issue is the use of plastics, which are harder to deal with than cardboard boxes. Another big concern is online sellers who overpackage to ensure their goods are protected.
As such, the EU is looking to revise its 70% recyclable waste directive—which was adopted earlier this year—to require all plastics to be recyclable.
In addition, the existing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, which require manufacturers to pay a fee towards waste management, would be amended to modulate fees according to how eco-friendly their packaging is.
According to Nelen, Europeans generated 85 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2015, a 6% rise from two years earlier, accounting for 3.4% of all waste in Europe. 66% of packaging, on average, is already recycled, though this varies greatly between countries.
Header image: Jilbert Ebrahimi