In 1994 the EU adopted the Directive on packaging and packaging waste. This Directive was implemented in national legislation in following years. Even though a number of years have passed since the Directive was adopted, many companies are still not meeting the obligations set out in the Packaging Directive. This is among other things due to the fact that instructions are only described in broad terms in Annex II, and, moreover, to the fact that European standards giving the companies better guidelines should have been worked out. These standards were finally approved by the EU in February 2005. Even these standards are very general, thus still leaving the companies with no precise guidance on how to observe to the rules.
Anyone introducing a packaging or a packaged product on an EU market, must observe the following:
- Minimization of the packaging system.
- Max. 100 ppm. heavy metal.
- Minimize the use of environmentally hazardous components.
- Meet special demands for packaging recycling.
- Make sure that the packaging can after use be recycled in at least one of the following methods:
- Recycling and use in other materials
- Combustion with energy recovery
- Compostible or biodegradable
The company responsible for meeting these requirements must be able to document in writing that these demands are met, when requested by an EU authority. Unfortunately, the Directive contains no accordance procedures, leaving the individual countries room for individual interpretation. Export companies should be aware of this fact.