Environmental Considerations

Environmental Considerations - The starting point for the development of all packaging systems ought to take into consideration the six elements listed below. Responsibility for and demonstration of a process for reporting and monitoring these elements are legally required in many international markets.

Six environmental considerations: (Also see The Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste)

  1. Source reduction requires demonstration that the minimum amount of packaging materials have been used in the development of the package in order to perform the main functions of protection, safety, storage, application and marketing.

  2. Limiting heavy metals and other hazardous substances. Packaging must contain less than 100 ppm of the sum of the concentration levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent.

  3. Material recovery and the availability of recycling infrastructure in the country to which product is shipped.

  4. Energy recovery and the specification of minimum inferior calorific value.

  5. Organic recovery and composting

  6. Reusability.

Burden of responsibility is an important point, please see: European Essential Requirements

Documentation burden - Under the proposed draft, [European Committee for Standardization] product manufacturers must assess their own packaging for compliance and maintain in-house records that document compliance with the standards. Such assessment documentation must be available for government review upon demand.

Each assessment that a manufacturer prepares must address all packaging components for each packaging "system." A system is defined as all primary, secondary and transport packaging associated with a given product. For example, for source reduction, the company must determine which functions of the package (protection, safety, storage, application and marketing) are critical and how the packaging can be further reduced without negative impact.

For recyclability, a manufacturer would be required to determine which facilities are needed to recycle each packaging component and if those recycling facilities exist in the country in which the package is sold. For example, if Spain lacks the paper recycling facilities to handle laminated paperboard, a packager cannot select recycling as its recovery option.

The assessments must be retained for at least two years (four in the U.K.) after a package is removed from the market. Upon request, the responsible party (in most cases, the manufacturer) will have to produce documentation showing that the packaging met the requirements.

Also see:

Packaging Waste - CEN