Systems of Packaging Waste Recycling in the EU: Comparing Five Different Case-Studies
All European Union (EU) member states have to comply with the demanding recycling rates targets that were set for the recovery of packaging waste in the Directive 94/62/EC. Nevertheless, each country has its own system for accomplishing these targets. Some already had national legislation when the Directive entered into force. Others had to â€œstart from scratchâ€ . Indeed, many countries have experienced massive improvements in the waste management systems in the last years; these include the closing of dumps and the construction of complying sanitary landfills. The â€œmaturity levelsâ€ of the waste management frameworks are different for the diverse EU countries. Evidently, this has consequences for the efficiency and effectiveness of the recycling system. Moreover, one can observe very different approaches for managing household packaging waste, although there is still a lack of evidence regarding the outperformance (if one considers economic and environmental aspects altogether) of any approach over another. This paper presents and discusses the pros and cons of the recycling systems of household packaging waste for five EU countries, namely: France, Germany, Portugal, Romania and the UK. We compare institutional frameworks, recycling rates, green dot fees and, whenever possible, recycling costs and benefits (i.e. the costs of selective collection and sorting on the one hand, and the financial transfers performed by the industry along with the product of the sale of recyclables on the other). To provide a verdict on the overall performance of any system is not straightforward. We are, however, able to underline several of the national best practices. Keywords: France; Germany; green dot; packaging waste; Portugal; recycling; Romania; the United Kingdom. JEL codes: H11; H21; H23; Q53; Q58.
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