Parliament backs 2008 deadline for packaging waste

On 2 July, MEPs voted in second reading on the draft directive on packaging waste, pushing for the introduction of measures for the prevention of waste. However, MEPs gave their support to the Council’s Common position on crucial issues such as the deadlines and targets, which is likely to lead to a faster conciliation process than expected.

On 2 July, the Parliament adopted a legislative resolution
for the revision of Directive on packaging and packaging waste. The
European Parliament backed crucial elements of the Council’s Common

  • deadline of 31 December 2008 – The Parliament approved the
    deadline 31 December 2008 to comply with the new targets. It
    rejected the Environment Committee’s proposal to force countries to
    meet their recycling targets in 2006;
  • the minimum percentage of targets for recovery and recycling of
    packaging waste – no later than 31 December 2008, at least 60 per
    cent of the weight of packaging waste must be recovered and between
    55 per cent minimum and 80 per cent as a maximum of the weight of
    package waste must be recycled;

The Parliamentary support for the majority of the Council’s
wishes is likely to lead to a faster conciliation process than had
been feared. They key question for conciliation is now the
prevention of waste.

MEPS backed the amendment of the Environment Committee stating
that Member States should ensure that national preventive measures
such as national programme or projects to introduce producer
responsibility are implemented. They also requested the Commission
to present by 30 June 2005 proposals for measures to strengthen and
complement the enforcement of the essential requirements and to
ensure that new packaging is only put on the market if the producer
has taken all measures to minimise its environmental impact without
compromising the essential functions of the packaging.


Julian Caroll, Europen Director, said: "Europen is
pleased with the outcome of the EP vote. We are pleased that the
figures and deadlines set in Council's common position were
accepted by the Parliament. Europen is concerned by the amendment
25 on prevention of waste. In principle, we support the thinking
behind but we are against the introduction of more regulations
about prevention measures and the enforcement of the essential
requirements. We want first the regulation that exists to be
enforced before talking about new regulation."

The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries
, regrets the EP vote in favour of national
preventive measures such as national programme or projects to
introduce producer responsibility to minimise the environmental
impact of packaging. IT believes that such measures are unnecessary
since a proper implementation and enforcement of the Essential
Requirements in all Member States can achieve this prevention

Roberto Ferrigo, EU Policy Director at the European
Environmental Bureau (EEB)
, said: "This revision is a
joke. This is a perfect example of how to waste time, energy and EU
citizens' money. The institutions agreed to send even more
packaging waste to landfill in the next five years. The level for
recycling plastic is too low, EU decision-makers went for the
lowest common denominator dictated by the plastic and oil


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

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


Parliament and Council representatives will meet for a
conciliation meeting.


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