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Environment minister Michael Meacher today announced that there would...
Environment minister Michael Meacher today announced that there would

be no changes to the recovery and recycling targets in 2003

throughout the UK.

This means that the 59% recovery target and the 19% material-specific

recycling targets currently in effect in 2002 under the Producer

Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as

amended) and the parallel statutory instruments in the devolved

administrations will remain in force throughout 2003.

Michael Meacher said:

'I have agreed that there should be no change in the business targets

for 2003 because we still do not know what targets the new packaging

Directive is going to set, nor to what deadline. I am also aware that

industry needs to start now to set in place the infrastructure they

will need to meet higher targets. However, it should be absolutely

clear that a significant uplift in the Directive targets is certain;

there should be no doubt about that. It would be foolish to put off

the development of the recovery and, particularly, collection


The UK now needs to extract more packaging waste from the household

stream but setting such collection systems in place can take 18

months to two years. I would expect the focus next year to be on

taking steps to ensure that the necessary collection systems will be

in place to deliver the next Directive targets'.

Mr Meacher also said that industry was well aware of the range of

proposals for new Directive targets being discussed and that these

were going to be very challenging. The likely level of targets needed

to be kept in mind by all obligated businesses and compliance

schemes. He added ' whatever targets are agreed in the Directive, it

will be necessary to introduce changes to the UK Regulations in 2004

to set the UK on course to achieve these'.

Mr Meacher also said that the businesses involved needed to focus now

on how best to extract more packaging waste from the household waste

stream in order to meet the new Directive targets. The new Advisory

Committee on Packaging would be giving priority attention to this

issue and everyone affected would need to pull together to ensure the

UK was able to comply with the new Directive.

A consultation on target levels and other changes to the Regulations

will be carried out as soon as possible in 2003.


1. This press notice is being issued jointly by the Department for

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Executive, the

National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland administration.

2. The EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 94/62/EC sets

target levels of recovery and recycling that were to be met in 2001.

The targets for the next 5-year phase are currently under

negotiation. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging

Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended), and the parallel statutory

instruments in the devolved administrations, implement the Directive

in the UK.

3. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste)

Regulations came into force in 1997 in GB and in 1999 in NI. These

Regulations transpose, in particular, the targets for recovery and

recycling of packaging waste in the Directive.

4. Previous target levels under the Regulations were as follows -

1998 38% recovery, 7% recycling (all materials)

1999 43% recovery, 10% recycling

2000 45% recovery, 13% recycling

2001 56% recovery, 18% recycling (NI 52% recovery, 16% recycling)

2002 59% recovery, 19% recycling

5. The Regulations place on certain businesses who satisfy two

threshold tests three main obligations:

(1) to register with the Environment Agency and parallel enforcement

agencies in the devolved administrations and provide data on the

packaging handled by the business in the previous year (regulation


(2) to take reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste,

calculated as provided in Schedule 2 to the Regulations (regulation

3(5)(b)(i)); and

(3) to certify that the necessary recovery and recycling has been

carried out (regulation 3(5)(b)(ii)). In addition, consumer

information obligations are placed on businesses that sell packaging

to the final user or consumer.

Regulation 3(6) provides that the recovery and recycling obligations

of producers are to enable the UK to attain the recovery and

recycling targets for member states in article 6(1) of Directive

94/62/EC - the Packaging Waste Directive.

6. Any business handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging and with

financial turnover of more than£2m will be obligated if it

performs one or more of the following activities: manufacturing raw

materials for packaging; converting materials into packaging; filling

packaging; selling packaging to the final user; importing packaging

or packaging materials into the UK.

7. The activity obligations associated with each of these activities

are: raw material manufacturing 6 per cent; converting 9 per cent;

pack/filling 37 per cent; selling 48 per cent.

8. The majority of companies who are covered by the regulations have

joined registered compliance schemes in order to discharge their

obligations to recover and recycle packaging waste.

9. The Regulations are designed to increase the recycling of

packaging waste. Broadly speaking, businesses covered by the

regulations are asked to:

i. Register with the relevant agency, provide them with data about

the packaging which goes through their business and calculate tonnage

recovery and recycling obligations.

ii. Carry out those recovery and recycling obligations.

iii. Provide evidence that they have done so.

10. The compliance scheme may also be involved in the physical

recovery of packaging waste (eg. cardboard boxes, drinks bottles and

cans, plastic containers or wooden and plastic pallets), for onward

transmission to reprocessing firms.

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