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First of all, before jumping straight into legal matters of packaging waste, I would consider it extremely helpful for you to read a very interesting document redacted by N. de Sadeleer, Prof. of EU Law, published on the website of Trade V Environnement.

Legal framework of packaging waste

Current legislation (source Europa/environnement)

Amending acts

    • Directive 2005/20/EC amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (extension of deadlines for the attainment of the recycling and recovery targets for the Member States acceding the EU in 2004).
    • Regulation (EC) No 219/2009 adapting a number of instruments subject to the procedure referred to in Article 251 of the Treaty to Council Decision 1999/468/EC with regard to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny.
    • Directive (EU) 2015/720 amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags.

Derogations for member states acceded in 2007

Packaging waste in Bulgaria
Packaging waste in Romania

Secondary legislation

    • Derogation for plastic crates and pallets from the heavy metal concentration levels
    • Derogation for glass packaging from the heavy metal concentration levels
  • Notification of draft measures member states intend to implement within the framework of Directive 94/62/EC
      • Due to Directive 98/34/EC laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations
      • Notifications can be accessed and consulted in the TRIS database (Technical Regulations Information System)

Member states’ measures going beyond the maximum targets, notified to and confirmed by the Commission

Most noteworthy being:

  • packaging waste in Austria
    • Firstly, Commission Decision 1999/42/EC confirms the measures notified by Austria pursuant to Article 6(6) of Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (notified under document number C(1998) 3940)
  • packaging waste in Belgium
    • Secondly, the Commission Decision 1999/652/EC confirms the measures notified by Belgium pursuant to Article 6(6) of Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (notified under document number C(1999) 2919) (Text with EEA relevance)
    • Also, Commission Decision 2003/82/EC confirms the measures notified by Belgium pursuant to Article 6(6) of Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (text with EEA relevance) (notified under document number C(2003) 361
  • packaging waste in The Netherlands
    • Finally, the Commission Decision 1999/823/EC confirms the measures notified by the Netherlands pursuant to Article 6(6) of Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (notified under document number C(1999) 3818)
  • Further EU Legislation relating to food contact materials (packaging waste)

Also, for information on EU legislation relating to food contact materials, including packaging:

Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 provides a harmonised legal EU framework. Similarly, it sets out the general principles of safety and inertness for all Food Contact Materials (FCMs).

Furthermore, the principles set out in Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 requires that materials do not:

    • Release their constituents into food at levels harmful to human health
    • Change food composition, taste and odour in an unacceptable way

Moreover, the framework provides for packaging waste:

    • special rules on active and intelligent materials (they are by their design not inert)
    • powers to enact additional EU measures for specific materials (e.g., for plastics)
    • rules on labelling including an indication for use (e.g., as a coffee machine, a wine bottle, or a soup spoon) or by reproducing the appropriate symbol. For more information, please refer to the following document on symbols for labelling food contact materials.
    • compliance documentation and traceability

Also, considering regulations on good manufacturing practices when it comes to packaging waste

Furthermore, Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006 ensures that the manufacturing process is well controlled. Similarly, it ensures the specifications for FCMs remain in conformity with the legislation:

    • premises fit for purpose and staff awareness of critical production stages
    • documented quality assurance and quality control systems maintained at the premises, and
    • also, a selection of suitable starting materials for the manufacturing process with a view to the safety and inertness of the final articles

As a result, good manufacturing rules apply to all stages in the manufacturing chain of food contact materials. Although, the production of starting materials is covered by other legislation.

Easy compliance

This area is fully covered by extensive regulations, resumed by :

    • first, appointing a national waste operator before dispatching your goods
    • second, providing such operators with the requested information on your packaging
    • finally, having the right to be refunded by the member state in which your products are not delivered.

Other key points when dealing with cross-border : compliance
VAT Compliance
Excise duties on alcoholic beverages

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