The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) believes that in 2008 alone the new, higher targets (subject to completion of parliamentary process) will save over 8m tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the Earth's atmosphere. The overall recovery target for 2008 is 72 per cent, and for 2009 73 per cent.
There should be a further saving of 258 097 tonnes of CO2 in 2009 and then an additional 285 436 tonnes in 2010.
DEFRA believes that the new targets should enable the UK to meet the EU Directive requirement of recycling at least 60 per cent of packaging waste by the end of 2008. Each year businesses are obliged to meet recovery and recycling targets to enable the UK to meet the requirement in the EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 94/62/EC.
DEFRA has said that over the next year it will work closely with industry, local Authorities, WRAP and others to develop ways to increase aluminium recycling in particular. The metal is regarded as a priority material since it is high-value and carbon rich.
Significant improvements in the collection and sorting arrangements are needed - particularly for beverage cans in the household and on-street waste streams, it said.
The government department also hopes that the new targets will enable progress to be made towards meeting the ambitions outlined in the 2007 Waste Strategy for England.
In this strategy proposal, producers were called on to use more recycled materials and less newly extracted raw materials. They are also asked them to design products that are less wasteful and take responsibility for the environmental impact of their products throughout the products' life.
The strategy outlines the government's objectives of placing more emphasis on waste prevention and re-use, diverting waste from landfill, recycling resources and recovering energy.
It is hoped to lead to an annual net reduction in global green house gas emissions from waste management of at least 9.3m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year compared to 2006.
The new targets have been designed to save more CO2 emissions than those published in DEFRAs 'Consultation on recycling targets for packaging for 2008 and thereafter'. DEFRA says they are based on updated market data and the feedback received during the public consultation, which ended in November 2007.
However, the increases in targets for aluminium and glass for 2008 are slightly smaller than those on which DEFRA consulted "to reflect current market factors and updated data on Great Britain's recycling performance for aluminium and glass". DEFRA says it has balanced these adjustments with higher than proposed overall recovery targets to achieve a bigger CO2 reduction in total. Over the next year DEFRA will be working with industry and other bodies to develop measures to increase aluminium recycling.
The business recovery and recycling targets for Britain, which are the targets used by businesses to calculate their obligations for 2008 - 2010 include (not comprehensive):
Joan Ruddock, Minister for waste, said "Reducing, recovering and recycling packaging is an important way in which business, Government and the consumer can work together to reduce greenhouse gases."
Many food and drink companies are already working to reduce their carbon footprint. The Food and Drink Federation pledged in October last year that its members would cut packing materials by 340 000 tonnes by 2010, from the 4.6m tonnes used in 2005, a reduction of 13 per cent.