The European Parliament has revised its directive on packaging and packaging waste which will more than double the minimum recycling targets.

EU member states currently have to recyle 25% of their waste cans, plastic bottles and cardboard packaging. The revision of directive 94/62/EC means that the target will increase to 55% by 2008.

The move was was welcomed by European environment commissioner Margot Wallström. She said: “In 1999, a total amount of 63.5 million tonnes of packaging waste was generated in the European Union.

“This corresponds to around 17% of municipal solid waste and 3% of the total waste generation by weight. Today's vote marks a further milestone towards making recycling of packaging the rule throughout the 15 member states and, in the near future, the acceding states.