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Last Updated: June 19, 2017
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The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EEC (the "Directive") partly harmonizes Member States' national packaging legislation. It covers packaging used for electrical and electronics products, including medical devices.

The Directive imposes the following design requirements on industry:

  1. Essential requirements: Packaging must comply with certain general requirements, including composition and reusability; and
  2. Maximum heavy metal concentration levels: 100 ppm for lead, cadmium, mercury, and hexavalent chromium.

It also establishes an optional packaging marking system: This system is intended to provide information on the composition of the packaging to waste management bodies.

The Directive imposes the following waste management obligations on Member States:

  1. Recovery and recycling targets: Member States must comply with recovery and recycling targets set up in the Directive;
  2. Packaging waste prevention measures: Member States must adopt measures to reduce packaging waste;
  3. Collection and recovery systems: Member States must set up systems for the collection and recovery of packaging waste;
  4. Information systems: Member States must set up information system on packaging and packaging waste; and
  5. User information: Member States must ensure that packaging users are informed on packaging take back.

Member States may, but are not required to, decide to impose some of these obligations, including recovery (extended producer responsibility) and user information, on packaging producers, importers and professional users. Almost all Member States have imposed extended producer responsibility on industry.

Member States may also impose their own labeling requirements.

They are, finally, responsible for enforcing the Directive.

Note that additional chemical restrictions may also be imposed on packaging by the REACH and the POP Regulations. For substance-specific information, please refer to the EU Restricted Substance Database. Please also refer to the subject report on Restricted Substances Overview in European Union.


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