The European Parliament issued Directive 94/62/EC “on packaging and packaging waste,” on December 20, 1994 and went into effect on June 30, 1996. The definition of packaging was intended to be comprehensive. It includes primary packaging for an individual product, secondary packaging for a case of the product, and tertiary packaging for shipping and handling during transport of the product. It includes packaging used at any stage of production or manufacturing: from raw material to finished product. Packaging includes items that are filled at the point of sale, such as cups, plates and bags which are used in food service. Packaging does not include items that are integral to a product; and in which are intended to be used, consumed and disposed of together, such as a coffee bags or seedling pots.
The EU Packing Directive has the following essential requirements:
- Packaging volume and weight must be the minimum amount necessary to maintain safety, hygiene and acceptance of the packaged product
- Packaging must be manufactured to permit reuse or recovery when packaging waste is disposed of. Recovery includes the recycling of packaging materials, separate composting of biodegradable packaging, and energy recovery through incineration.
- Noxious & hazardous substances must be minimized when packaging is incinerated or disposed of in a landfill