Packaging Legislation

EC Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste came into force at the end of 1994 and aims to harmonise the management of packaging waste in EU Member States to reduce the life cycle environmental impacts. The Directive has the following specific objectives:

  • To increase the recovery and recycling of packaging waste in a consistent way in all EU Member States
  • To reduce the amount of packaging used and to encourage the reuse of packaging
  • To limit the concentration levels of certain heavy metals used in packaging products in order to reduce the environmental impact of packaging products which are landfilled or incinerated

The legislation sets mandatory recovery and recycling targets that Member States must achieve, the first of which were required to be met in 2001.

A revised Packaging Directive, 2004/12/EC, was published in 2004. The revised Directive further clarified the definition of packaging and sets new minimum recovery and recycling targets, as a percentage of all packaging waste arising from Member States, to be attained by 2008. The Directive allows each Member State to set programmes that go beyond the minimum recovery and recycling targets, providing these targets avoid introducing EC market distortions and also comply with the Directive’s requirements.

The deadline for Member States to transpose the requirements of the Directive into their national laws and regulations was 9 September 2006.