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Status and trends in regulations of packaging and packaging waste in Europe 2007

This report describes the relevant regulations of packaging and packaging waste in the EU. Two main groups of EU legislation regulate packaging intended for food: 1) The packaging and packaging waste legislation; 2) The legislation on food contact materials. The report further draws conclusions on how these regulations will develop in the nearest future. The waste framework directive is in 2007 under revision, and special attention is given to the expected changes of this directive. The revision process is expected to be finalized by the end of 2008. The packaging directive will probably not be revised in the nearest future. The Commission states that new recovery targets will not be set before all member states have reached the existing targets, and the most delayed deadline is in 2014 (Romania). It has further communicated that packaging recycling and recovery in the future will be treated more closely in line with the Commission‟s general strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste. This strategy will probably be reviewed in 2010.

Taxes on packaging and fees payable for placing packaging on the market have been studied in ten member states. All countries, except from Denmark, have producer responsibility organisations (PRO). When packaging is placed on the market, a weight and material specific fee has to be paid to a PRO. In Denmark there is a packaging tax on certain products and the municipalities are responsible for collecting and recovering the packaging waste. The fees to the PROs vary considerably between the countries, e.g. the fee for aluminium is at least seven times higher in Germany than in any of the other countries. The lowest fees are found in Poland, Italy and the UK. Germany has significant higher fees than all the other countries. The fee for plastic is in 7 of 10 countries two to five times as high as the fee for paper/cardboard (per kg). Some countries, e.g. Poland has a packaging tax that are levied only if a producer is not fulfilling his responsibility according to the recovery targets. The picture of the different fees and the calculation systems are so complex that some kind of software is probably needed to be able to evaluate cost saving potentials from changing either the design or the use of packaging.

Bans on landfill and taxes on landfill and incineration have also been studied. Only a few countries levy tax on incineration. Landfill bans are only found in Germany and Sweden. The highest tax level on landfill is found in The Netherlands and Denmark. The UK is these days increasing their tax on landfill considerably. Landfill bans are found in It seems like a trend that the authorities have increased the landfill tax and the bans on landfill during the last decades. This trend is expected to continue.

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