European Directives
2004/12/EC - Packaging Recycling Directive

The directive 2004/12/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union concern the recycling of packaging and packaging waste and amends the directive 94/62/EC.

This Directive aims to harmonize national measures concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste in order, on the one hand, to prevent any impact thereof on the environment, and, on the other hand, to ensure the functioning of the internal market and to avoid obstacles to trade and distortion and restriction of competition within the Community.

It is necessary, in order to achieve the ambitious recycling targets, to encourage the development of innovative, environmentally sound and viable recycling processes. Recycling targets for each specific waste material should take account of life-cycle assessments and cost-benefit analysis and should improve the coherence of the internal market for the recycling of these materials.

The amendments brought by the new directive primarily concern the prevention, recovery and recycling of packaging waste.

Member States shall ensure that, in addition to the measures to prevent the formation of packaging waste, other preventive measures are implemented. Such other measures may consist of national programs, projects to introduce producer responsibility to minimize the environmental impact of packaging or similar actions. The Commission shall, as appropriate, present proposals for measures to strengthen and complement the enforcement of the essential requirements and to ensure that new packaging is put on the market only if the producer has taken all necessary measures to minimize its environmental impact without compromising the essential functions of the packaging.

In order to comply with the objectives of this directive, Member States shall take the necessary measures to attain the following targets:

- The recovery and the recycling of a minimum 50% by weight of packaging waste.
- Encouragement of energy recovery, where it is preferable to material-recycling for environmental and cost-benefit reasons.
- Utilization of materials obtained from recycled packaging waste for the manufacturing of packaging and other products.
- Information campaign for the general public and economic operators, after the publish of the measures and targets that must be accomplished.

All the above require the Member States to set up return, collection and recovery systems. Such systems should be open to the participation of all interested parties and be designed to avoid discrimination against imported products and barriers to trade or distortions of competition and to guarantee the maximum possible return of packaging and packaging waste. Discrimination against materials on the basis of their weight should be avoided. The operators in the packaging chain as a whole should undertake their shared responsibility to ensure that the environmental impact of packaging and packaging waste throughout its life cycle is reduced as far as possible.

You may read the complete directive by clicking the following link: