What is the EU Packaging Directive?

The aim of the EU packaging directive is to ensure that no one who is responsible for packing or filling products into packaging or importing packed or filled packaging into Europe, may place that packaging on the market unless it fulfils the essential requirements and is within the heavy metal concentration limits.

What are the requirements under the directive?

The essential requirements under the directive are, in summary:

  • The packaging volume and weight must be the minimum amount to maintain the necessary levels of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer
  • The packaging must be manufactured so as to permit reuse or recovery in accordance with specific requirements
  • Hazardous substances within the packaging must be minimised in emissions, ash or leaching from incineration or landfill

In addition to this there are heavy metals limits for cadmium, mercury, lead and chrome VI in packaging and packaging components. The total weight of such metals should not exceed 100ppm.

How do I comply with the directive?

The key to compliance with the packaging directive is through good record keeping; enforcement officers may assess the compliance of any packaging by requesting technical documentation on both the packaging essential requirements and the heavy metal limits. The documentation must be produced within 28 days of being requested.

Why do I need to comply with the directive?

Failure to comply with the requirements under the packaging directive could result in a variety of measures including recall of the product, withdrawal from the market, and rejections during import.