Conciliation looms over packaging waste

On 1 July, MEPs will debate in second reading the draft directive on packaging waste. The main amendments to be discussed concern the prevention of packaging waste, exports of such waste and exemptions to the directive.

Dorette Corbey(PSE-Netherlands),
parliament’s rapporteur is tabling a draft legislative resolution
on packaging waste. The Environment Committee restated its
determination to shorten the timetable for requiring Member States
to recycle and recover packaging waste with a 31 December 2006
deadline instead of 2008 as agreed by the Council. MEPs also differ
from the Council’s Common position as regards the prevention of
packaging waste, exports of such waste and exemptions to the
directive.

The Environment Committee is proposing an amendment stating
that, from 1 January 2004, new packaging may only be put on the
market if the producer has sought to minimise its environmental
impact as far as possible. This applies to new packaging for both
new and existing products. Member States must also ensure that
other preventive measures are put into effect, such as national
programmes.

MEPs in the committee say that packaging waste exported from the
Community may only count towards targets if the exporter can prove
the recovery or recycling operation met the same conditions as
those laid down by Community law.

 

Belgium and the Netherlands did not support the Council's
common position which was adopted by a qualified majority. Both
countries wanted stricter targets and earlier deadlines.

Europen , European organisation for packaging, and
Assurre, association dealing with sustainable resource management,
consider that the Committee's proposal to reduce the deadline from
2008 to 2006 would seriously hamper the ability of Member States to
reach it. Europen is against an amendment which would prohibit the
introduction of new packaging from 1 January 2004 unless the
producer had taken additional unspecified measures.

 

The Commission proposed in December 2001 a limited review of
Council directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. The
Commission's proposal is limited to a revision of the recycling and
recovery targets. The figures agreed by the Council's common
position are 55 per cent for recycling and 60 per cent for
recovery.

On 22 May 2003, the Parliament's Environment Committee agreed to
accept the minimum recovery and recycling targets for packaging
waste set by the Council's common position but called for shorter
deadlines.

 

MEPS will vote on the issue on 2 July 2003.

 

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