Packaging waste proposal debated in the Parliament

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has started the discussions on the proposal for revision of the packaging waste directive. The rapporteur, Mrs Corbey, has suggested crucial changes to the proposal. Most of these are being opposed by the packaging industry.

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee held a first
debate on the packaging report in mid-April. Considering that the
rapporteur Colette Corbey (NL) has suggested important changes to
the Commission’s proposal, it is likely that there will be a lively
debate on the amendments at the next meeting in June. The
rapporteur’s main recommendations are:

  • increase of recovery and recycling minimum targets and delete
    the maximum targets;
  • expansion of the scope of the directive to introduce elements
    of sustainable development and integrated product policy
  • introduce life cycle analysis (LCA) as a tool to determine what
    new products will be allowed on the market.


EUROPEN, the organisation for packaging and the
environment, emphasises the difficulties with promoting LCA as a
decision making tool. There are no scientific proofs that LCA will
provide the best environmental option. EUROPEN also states that
extending the scope to general sustainability principles would only
make the directive unclear and less focused.

CEPI, the paper and board packaging industry,
opposes the suggestion to set differentiated material-specific
recycling targets at EU level, as these might lead to possible
market distortions between the packaging materials. However, it
states that the recycling target proposed for paper of 55 per cent,
are challenging but achievable.

The Parliament's
Industry Committee is writing a contribution to
the Environment Committee. The rapporteur Angelika Niebler
(Germany, PPE) agrees with the Commission to limit the revision of
the directive to the setting of targets. The broader issues
proposed by the Environment Committee should rather be dealt with
in the IPP context.

The Council is also debating the proposal in a
working group. The draft paper by the Spanish Presidency proposes
extended deadlines to fulfil the recycling and recovery targets
from 2006 to 2008.


The Commission's proposal of December 2001, is part of a
review of Council directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging
waste. This directive aims to harmonise national measures on the
use of packaging waste to ensure the smooth functioning of the
internal market whilst at the same time providing a high level of
environmental protection. The Commission's proposal is limited to
revision of the targets.


The Environment Committee will hold a second debate with
amendments on 17/18 June. It will then go to plenary session in


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