More than two-thirds of packaging placed on the market in European Union countries was recycled by the end of 2011, according to a new report.
Europen, the Belgium-based European organization for packaging and the environment, released this week the results of an in-depth study, using official EU data, on the evolution of packaging waste rates between 1998-2011.
The body's findings showed that by the end of 2011, 64 percent of packaging placed on the market in the 27 EU countries was being recycled, largely exceeding the 55 percent minimum recycling target that is currently set by the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).
The study did not include Croatia, which became part of the EU in 2013.
In the older member states (EU-15, which includes countries that were members as of 2004), 65 percent of the packaging placed on the market was recycled while 51 percent was recycled in the newer members states, which covers many countries in Central Europe, but the report says that PPWD targets do not apply to these countries until 2012 or later.
Looking specifically at plastics, the report states that the tonnage of plastic packaging placed on the market increased by 2.2 percent between 1998 and 2011 with the EU states placing 14,945 metric tons in 2011.
The consumption of plastic packaging per capita in the EU rose from 29 kilograms in 2005 to 30 kilograms in 2011. The report shows that out of the older member states, only Denmark did not achieve the second stage target of 22.5 percent recycling rates for plastics in 2011, instead reporting a rate of 22.3 percent.
Virginia Janssens, Europen's managing director, said: "The launch of the report is timely for Europen members and stakeholders amid the current European Commission review of the EU targets in the PPWD and the forthcoming proposals for new EU packaging targets in May 2014.
"The report's facts and figures will further inform the discussion and will help to establish achievable targets for all packaging materials."
Europen states that as an industry organization it presents the opinion of the packaging value chain in Europe on topics related to packaging and the environment without favoring any specific material or system.