S-Comm B PN020802

EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01

FRIDAY 2 AUGUST 2002

UK INDUSTRY FACES SPIRALLING COSTS TO MEET HIGHER EU TARGETS FOR PACKAGING WASTE MANAGEMENT

UK industry will face spiralling costs to meet revised EU recycling and recovery targets for packaging waste, according to a Lords Committee report published today.

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, Chairman of the inquiry, said:

"Costs will rise considerably.  So far, the industry has sourced packaging waste mainly from industrial and commercial users, giving the UK the lowest costs in the EU.  In 2001, recovering and recycling packaging waste cost the UK packaging industry £70 million.

"We estimate this annual cost could rise by between 400  500 per cent as industry will have to rely increasingly on the household waste stream to comply with the European Commission's new targets for 2006.

"In addition, the European Parliament is threatening even higher targets which could cost UK industry close to a billion pounds more.

"The Committee is alarmed that these proposed targets are not backed up by rigorous cost/benefit analysis or provable net environmental benefits."

Although the UK system differs from those in other Member States, the Committee concluded it would be unwise to change it fundamentally.

The Committee recommends:

  • simplifying the system

  • extending obligations to recover and recycle packaging and packaging waste to cover those companies currently exempted

Tightening up the system by:

  • providing better data regularly audited

  • clarifying rules on compliance for obligated companies and compliance scheme operators

  • better coordination between the packaging industry, the local authorities and the regulatory agencies

  • setting up a single authority to oversee how the packaging industry could meet future targets.                   

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The European Commission has proposed changes to waste packaging recovery and recycling targets as part of the revision of Directive (94/62/EC) on Packaging and Packaging Waste.

The following tables illustrate the proposed new EU targets:

 

30 June 2001 Targets

30 June 2006 Targets

Recovery

50-65%

60-75%

Recycling

25-45%

55-70%

* Recovery includes recycling and recovering energy from waste. For example, waste incineration may produce steam or electricity.

Minimum recycling targets for materials are set at 15% (30 June 2001).

New targets are: glass 60%, paper/board 55 %, metals 50%, plastics 20%.

2. The report is published by The Stationery Office: Packaging and Packaging Waste: Revised Recovery and Recycling Targets, HL Paper 166, ISBN 0-10-413402-X, £22.50. The text will be available via www.parliament.uk shortly after publication.

3. This report follows an earlier report, Packaging and Packaging Waste, the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, 26th Report, Session 199293, HL Paper 118-1 which looked at the original 1994 Directive.

4. Around 14,000 UK firms have varying obligations under the Directive.

5. The inquiry was conducted by the EU Sub-Committee B (Energy, Industry and Transport) whose current membership is:

Viscount Brookeborough  

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe (Chairman)

Lord Cavendish of Furness

Lord Chadlington

Baroness Cohen of Pimlico

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

Baroness O'Cathain

Lord Shutt of Greetland

Lord Skelmersdale

Lord Wilson of Tillyorn

Lord Woolmer of Leeds

For further information or copies of the report please contact the Committee on 020 7219 8659 or 020 7219 6798.

 [ENDS]