The UK Government has announced business recovery and recycling targets for 2004-2008 and other changes which, subject to parliamentary approval, will come into effect on 1 January 2004. In Scotland and Wales the changes will be made by the Scottish Executive and by the Welsh Assembly Government respectively.

The government intends to increase the business targets for packaging waste from the present 59% recovery and 19% material-specific recycling.

The targets have been set following a consultation exercise earlier this year, and in light of third quarter recycling and recovery returns and the estimated recycling rate for 2003. Defra says data on plastic packaging waste recycling will be investigated shortly in light of allegations that some evidence of compliance is being issued inappropriately.

The amount of wood recycling expected in 2003 is not clear as the wood data is uncertain at this stage, it says. Targets for wood and plastic recycling have therefore been kept at a level designed to meet the likely Directive minimum material-specific recycling target in 2008.

There are separate targets for aluminium and steel and these have been set to achieve, together, the minimum material-specific recycling target for ‘metals’ in 2008.

Further tables showing the targets and the expected achievements in tonnage terms are available on the Defra website: where details of changes, “designed to tighten up the management of the packaging waste recovery system in the UK”, can also be found.