Decreasing waste packaging

Reducing use of packaging

Reducing the overall impact of packaging on the environment by reducing packaging at source, eliminating harmful materials in packaging waste, maximizing the recovery of packaging for reuse and recycling, and minimizing the quantity of packaging waste going to landfills.


In Bangkok, Thailand, for many years it has been the practice to 'eat-out' at street corner vendors or purchase food from vendors to take home. The plastic bag has replaced the more traditional banana leaves, with the result that plastic bags discarded in refuse have become a major problem in the city's waste stream. The Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technical Research has established the Thai Packaging Centre which is responsible for improving packaging, decreasing losses and increasing exports.

A 60% recycling goal for packaging waste by 2006 is expected to be proposed by the European Commission in the long-awaited revisions to the 1994 packaging directive. Differentiated targets are expected for specific materials as well, such as a 60% paper and paperboard rate, 50% for metals, 70% for glass and 20% for plastics. The proposal is in reaction to the completion of a study on recycling economics, which recommended a prime recycling rate between 50 and 68%. The target of the 1994 directive is between 25 and 45% - a goal reached by all member states.

Europe and Asia are ahead of of the USA on policy, but the USA in terms of infrastructure is ahead of everyone except Germany, Austria and a few other countries. Environmental producer responsibility laws in certain European countries has enabled European governments to leapfrog ahead of the USA in terms of funding for recycling.


1. Industry needs to develop new voluntary design standards and actively push them to avert future legislation.


Constrained by:
Using packaging
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy