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The guide starts with a short review of the current directives, statutory orders and standards.

Any company introducing a packaging or a packaged product to an EU market is responsible for observing these rules. Typically, it will be a producer buying packaging for a product (packer/filler). It could also be the packaging producer, an import/export business or a retail chain with its own brand.

The responsible company must do the following in order to meet the Directive’s requirements:

  • Minimize the packaging system, so that the packaging fulfils its purpose - protection, display, information, distribution adaptation etc.
  • Make sure that each packaging component contains no more than 100 ppm. heavy metal.
  • Minimize the use of environmentally hazardous components according to EU Directive 67/548.
  • Meet special demands if the packaging is to be re-used for the same purpose.
  • Make sure that the packaging is at least:
    • Recoverable to other materials
    • Combustible with energy recovery
    • Compostible or biodegradable

The above mentioned demands are described in six European standards and two reports. Two of the six European standards give a precise guideline for the companies on how to determine whether the packaging meets the demands or not. The other four standards are system standards securing that the companies have been through a process. These four system standards have been very difficult for the companies to implement, since there is no precise guidelines on how to proceed.