Packaging Regulations

Packaging - Essential Requirements

Do the Essential Requirements apply to you?

The Essential Requirements are relevant to businesses that:

  • design, specify or produce packaging
  • pack or fill packaging to sell
  • claim to have packed or filled packaging by putting their name on the packaging, or
  • import packaging.

If you pack products, fill packaging or import packed goods or packaging into the United Kingdom, you must ensure that the packaging meets the Essential Requirements.

Packaging includes all products that are used to contain, protect, handle, deliver and present goods. This includes non-returnable items.

The Essential Requirements apply to businesses throughout the United Kingdom, regardless of their turnover and the quantities of packaging manufactured.

 

Do the Essential Requirements apply to you?

 

The Essential Requirements are relevant to businesses that:

  • design, specify or produce packaging
  • pack or fill packaging to sell
  • claim to have packed or filled packaging by putting their name on the packaging, or
  • import packaging.

If you pack products, fill packaging or import packed goods or packaging into the United Kingdom, you must ensure that the packaging meets the Essential Requirements.

Packaging includes all products that are used to contain, protect, handle, deliver and present goods. This includes non-returnable items.

The Essential Requirements apply to businesses throughout the United Kingdom, regardless of their turnover and the quantities of packaging manufactured

 

Exemptions from the Essential Requirements for packaging.

 

The Essential Requirements apply to all packaging except:

  • packaging which was used prior to 31 December 1994
  • packaging manufactured on or before 31 December 1994 and placed on the market no later than 31 December 1999, and
  • packaging made entirely from lead crystal glass.

Partial exemptions are available in relation to the concentration of regulated heavy metals. Regulated metals are lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium.

Until 4 March 2009, plastic pallets and crates with heavy metal concentrations greater than those allowed by the regulations may be placed on the market if certain criteria are met.

Glass packaging may contain up to 100ppm (parts per million), by weight, of regulated heavy metals. This level may be raised to 250ppm, if recycled materials have been added. This only applies if no regulated metals are introduced during manufacture.

For more information on these partial exemptions, please refer to the Department of Trade and Industry Guidance Notes for Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations

 

How to comply with the Essential Requirements for packaging.

 

To comply with the Essential Requirements, you must:

  • minimise packaging weight and volume (subject to safety, hygiene and consumer acceptance)
  • make sure packaging can be recovered, or produce packaging that is reusable
  • make sure packaging has a minimal impact on the environment after disposal
  • make sure packaging is manufactured to contain minimum levels of hazardous substances
  • make sure the amount of cadmium, mercury, lead and hexavalent chromium, or any combination of these heavy metals, does not exceed 100ppm (parts per million) by weight. These limits apply to packaging and any packaging components, and
  • keep evidence for at least four years from the date that the packaging was placed on the market that it complies with the Essential Requirements. You need to be able to supply these details to your enforcing organisation within 28 days, if requested.

Packaging recovery methods

All packaging must be recoverable by one of the following methods and you must comply with the associated targets:

  • material recycling - the packaging must be manufactured so that a certain percentage (by weight) of the material can be recycled.
  • energy recovery - the packaging waste must be processed to allow for maximum energy recovery. This means that any packaging waste burned must produce more energy than is used by the incineration process.
  • composting - the packaging waste processed must be biodegradable and not hinder the collection or composting process.
  • biodegradation - packaging must ultimately decompose into carbon dioxide, biomass and water.

Reusable packaging must be capable of being used several times. Once at the end of its useful life, it must also meet the requirements for recovery listed above.

 

Would you like more information & guidence - www.netreg.gov.uk

 

 


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