The Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is now aiming for overall recovery targets - the amount of waste taken back by a producer - of 72 per cent this year, compared to 68 per cent previously.
Targets for following years were raised by the same amount, to 73 per cent in 2009 and 74 per cent in 2010.
Many drinks companies and retailers are already working with the Waste Resources Action Programme to reduce waste and improve recycling, but these new targets mean they will have to do more to reach them.
Defra's report, “recycling targets for packaging for 2008 and thereafter”, follows industry concerns last year that recycling targets for individual materials were in danger of being missed.
Defra had set lower individual targets for glass, aluminium and plastic, than for overall recovery.
However, new figures suggest the government is more confident. It wants to recycle 78 per cent of glass this year, increasing to 80 per cent in 2009 and 81 per cent in 2010.
For aluminium the targets are 35 per cent for 2008, 38 per cent for 2009 and 40 per cent for 2010. For plastic they are 26, 27 and and 29 per cent respectively.
Joan Ruddock, minister for waste, said Defra would work with the industry, WRAP and local authorities to help increase recycling levels.
She said: “Reducing, recovering and recycling packaging is an important way in which business, government and the consumer can work together to reduce greenhouse gases. These increased targets represent our commitment to drive up recycling in Great Britain and tackle dangerous climate change.”