The European Packaging Directive | EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC

Verpackungen, Verpackungsabfall

This directive, which is valid throughout Europe, serves to ensure that packaging and packaging waste are of a uniform, environmentally friendly and health-friendly nature. In addition to the substances contained and their effects, the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC includes the objective and achievement of recycling.

The European Packaging Directive – a definition

No matter which products you buy or sell: packaging is included in the scope of delivery. Each package must fulfil specific requirements and meet environmental and climate targets. With the introduction of the European Packaging Directive, a Europe-wide standard was created that applies to all Member States of the EU. The directive contains the maximum values for certain heavy metals and concerns itself with protecting the environment.

What are the benefits of the European Packaging Directive?

Packaging goes through a cycle. It is manufactured, transported to its destination and then disposed of. The European Packaging Directive stipulates that grouped packaging must meet the minimum requirements of the specified standards and, even better, exceed them with smaller quantities of pollutants and recyclability. The introduction of a clear directive applicable throughout the European Union is intended to reduce pollution and damage caused by unnecessary packaging waste. All Member States are equal and face identical challenges in the production of packaging. Since the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC is formulated in a clear and logical manner, there are no ambiguous or unspecific requirements.

This directive represents a uniform European standard that obligates every packaging manufacturer and retailer without restriction. The European Packaging Directive is translated into national law by the German Packaging Act.

Who is bound by the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC?

Every manufacturer of packaging, every retailer and seller is bound by the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC. Even if you purchase your products already packaged from a wholesaler, you are not exempt from having to comply with the European Packaging Directive. Although the packaging manufacturer bears the greatest responsibility, the principles are just as binding for you as a retailer and seller. To prevent problems and fines, pay close attention to the labelling of the packaging. It must not only show information about the product but also include the materials of the packaging, which must be labelled and identified to the same extent. The European Packaging Directive applies to all packaging: in business, retail, the office, industry and in the home.

What does the European Packaging Directive say?

The European Packaging Directive establishes a concrete standard that is binding for all manufacturers and retailers. Packaging may only be placed on the market, and thus in the economic cycle, if it meets the requirements. Primary requirements for all packaging placed on the market are based on

  • The lowest possible weight and volume of the material
  • Consumer acceptance
  • Hygienic and safety-relevant properties
  • The maximum reduction of hazardous substances and components in the packaging material
  • Reusable and recyclable materials.

In general, packaging should be reduced to a minimum and manufactured as a reusable version. Plastics containing heavy metals and chemical substances are replaced by more environmentally-friendly packaging made from natural materials. Since every Member State of the EU has to orient itself towards the directive, it proves to be an effective measure against ever-growing mountains of packaging waste.

The fundamental basis of this directive

The fact is: packaging cannot generally be prevented. For sensitive products intended for consumption, packaging is necessary for hygienic reasons alone. Nevertheless, the question arises as to how much packaging there must be and what properties the grouped packaging must have. ‘Less is more’ is the very clear demand when it comes to rethinking concepts in the manufacturing of packaging. A high level of environmental protection is based on

  • The prevention of unnecessary packaging
  • The recycling of unavoidable packaging waste
  • And the resulting reduction in waste disposal costs.

The western industrial nations, explicitly Europe, have established themselves as masters of packaging in the past. The European Packaging Directive sets clear limits here and is the basis for protecting the environment and significantly reducing the amount of waste generated. From a long-term viewpoint, packaging should generally be recyclable, reusable and of small dimensions.

Conclusion – less packaging waste for a clean future

The world’s oceans are full of plastic waste, consisting mainly of packaging and packaging materials. Materials used in the past last for centuries and leave dangerous microplastics in the water when they decompose. The aim of the European Packaging Directive is, among other things, to offer new guidance for the production of packaging and to concentrate on environmentally-friendly materials. Another aspect is the health-related properties of grouped packaging. Heavy metals and chemical substances are not only harmful to the environment but have also been shown to damage human health.