The article describes European initiatives to reduce wastes and implement source reduction. Waste generation has increased in Europe and the United States under a system that does not affix the costs of managing waste materials to those who produce them. Packaging, which constitutes approximately one-third, by weight, of municipal solid waste in both the US and Europe, is the prime target. The countries of Europe are diverse and there are major differences in their approach to environmental problems. Germany and the Netherlands are two countries which are pioneers in developing new strategies to reduce waste. Germany has adopted dramatic legislation requiring those who create packaging to take it back and reuse or recycle it outside of the public waste management system. Methodology of definition and implementation are discussed with emphasis on mandatory compliance and challenges.