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Packaging can have several main roles:
- to protect the product, especially during transit;
- to preserve the product;
- to contain the product, e.g. in the case of liquids;
- to provide information to the consumer regarding the product; and to market the product.
It is commonly made of a variety of materials including:
- paper and cardboard;
Producer responsibility arrangements are in place throughout Europe, introducing measures relating to the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution caused by waste and the management of packaging and packaging waste.
The success of any recycling strategy is supported by a functioning market for secondary materials and the key policy mechanisms used.
These graphs show how Member States met the recovery and recycling targets of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (94/62/EC) : (See also section on Targets below)
Graph: Recovery rate for total packaging, 2015
Recycling and recovery of Packaging waste, by country and year, in percent (%)
Generation and treatment of Packaging waste (domestic / imports / exports), by country, year, waste category, and treatment type, in tonnes, kg per inhabitant and percent (%)
Metadata for packaging waste statistics is available.
Data relating to individual Member States, in the same format as that submitted by the competent authority to Eurostat, is also provided here:
In order to comply with the objectives of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (94/62/EC), Member States shall take the necessary measures to attain the following targets covering the whole of their territory laid down in the Commission Directive (2004/12EC)
Not all countries have the same deadline to attain the targets, the deadlines are laid down in the Commission Directive (2004/12EC)
For the ten Member States which joined the EU after 2004 (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia) a later deadline was set in the Commission Directive (2005/20/EC). Romania and Bulgaria have also been granted specific derogations.
First stage (2001-targets): no later than 30 June 2001 between 50 % as a minimum and 65 % as a maximum by weight of packaging waste will be recovered or incinerated at waste incineration plants with energy recovery;
Second stage (2008-targets): no later than 31 December 2008 60 % as a minimum by weight of packaging waste will be recovered or incinerated at waste incineration plants with energy recovery;
First stage (2001-targets): no later than 30 June 2001 between 25 % as a minimum and 45 % as a maximum by weight of the totality of packaging materials contained in packaging waste will be recycled;
Second stage (2008-targets): no later than 31 December 2008 between 55 % as a minimum and 80 % as a maximum by weight of packaging waste will be recycled
Recycling by materials:
First stage: no later than 30 June 2001 the following minimum recycling target for materials contained in packaging waste will be attained: 15 % for all materials
Second stage: no later than 31 December 2008 the following minimum recycling targets for materials contained in packaging waste will be attained:
60 % by weight for glass;
60 % by weight for paper and board;
22,5 % by weight for plastics, counting exclusively material that is recycled back into plastics;
15 % by weight for wood.