Letter: The problem of Europe's overflowing dustbin

Sir: Your leading article today ('Even unto the yoghurt pot') refers to the packaging we discard as a 'monument to the throwaway society'. Alas, the draft EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste, approved by the European Commission yesterday, will do very little to shrink that monument.

The draft directive sets no targets for reducing or even stabilising the amount of packaging waste produced in the Community. And, if it becomes law, recycling is likely to lose out to incineration, as the draft fails to set specific recycling targets and defines incineration as 'recovery'.

Even more alarming, this draft directive could prevent the member states which already have tough national policies for dealing with packaging waste - the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark - from maintaining or improving their national standards, due to the EC's 'lowest common denominator' approach.

The draft directive gives carte blanche to all sectors of the packaging industry to go on producing as much packaging as they want. Instead of protecting the environment from packaging, it protects the packaging industry from the environment.

This draft must not become law. The Commission should dump this rubbishy text and devise a directive which will consign the throwaway society to the dustbin of history.

Yours faithfully,


Recycling Campaigner

Friends of the Earth

London, N1

16 July