Legal basis

Europe's waste problems are still growing.

After all, each inhabitant of the EU Member States produces between 250 and 620 kilograms of household waste per year. About 25% to 30% is packaging waste.

  • The European Union reacted to the significant drop in landfill capacities and declining resources with the Packaging Directive which came into force on December 31, 1994. By the year 2001, all EU Member States had to introduce systems for the collection and recovery of packaging and to recover between 50 percent as a minimum and 65 percent as a maximum of the packaging waste (with the exception of Portugal, Greece and Ireland for which the date of compliance with the recovery targets was postponed until 2005). More ambitious targets were set for 2020, and plans are underway for even higher recycling targets in the Commission’s Circular Economy Package.

  • PRO Europe was established as a direct response to the EU’s 1994 Directive. It requires EU Member States to ensure that “systems” open to the participation of economic operators are created for the collection and recovery of packaging waste. The prevention and recycling of packaging can only be realized all over Europe if the EU Member States work together. If manufacturers were forced to attach different national trade marks to the packaging, this would certainly obstruct the import/export trade. PRO Europe, domiciled in Brussels, was founded to avoid trade barriers like this from the very beginning.

    In the meantime European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission agreed to a revision of the Packaging Directive which came into force on February 18, 2004 (2004/12/EC).

    You can download the European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste here:

    You can download the Amending Act of 2004 (Directive 2004/12/EC) here:

  • In the following you can see an overview about the current recovery and recycling targets which all EU Member States have to fulfil. It is up to the individual countries to decide how they wish to achieve the recovery and recycling targets set forth in the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC.



Recycling targets for specific materials 

Glass     60 % 
Paper    60 % 
Metal     50 % 
Plastic 22,5 % 
Wood    15 % 


Recovery and recycling targets

  Minimum Maximum
Recovery 60 % -
Recycling 55 % 80 %







: Recovery and recycling targets according to Directive 94/62/EG, February 2004

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