The Packaging of Waste Regulations

The "Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations" were introduced into UK law in 1997 in order to implement EU Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. The aims of the Regulations are to:

  • Reduce the amount of packaging.
  • Reuse packaging.
  • Increase recovery and recycling of packaging.
  • Reduce the amount of packaging that is landfilled.
  • Encourage the use of recycled packaging material.

Recycling targets were introduced for each specific packaging material: paper, glass, aluminium, steel, plastic and wood. The table below illustrates the EU targets set for the UK to achieve by 2008:

2008 Target
Paper 60%
Glass 60%
Alumninium 50%*
Steel 50%*
Plastic 22.5%
Wood 15%
Minimum Recycling 55%
Overall Recovery 60%

* The 50% target is for all "metal" packaging, which in the scope of the Regulations refers to both aluminium and steel packaging. Therefore the combined total tonnage of aluminium and steel packaging that is required to be recycled is 50%.