The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations

The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations were introduced in 1998 and consolidated in 2015. The aim of the regulations is to reduce the impact that packaging has on the environment by minimising its weight and volume, requiring that it can be reused, recycled or recovered, and introducing tolerances on the amount of toxic heavy metals permitted and minimising noxious or hazardous substances released during waste management.

Who is affected?

Organisations will be affected by the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations if they:

  • pack or fill packaging and place it onto the UK market

  • import packaging which is filled and ready to place on the market

  • design or manufacture packaging

  • recondition packaging (i.e. for reuse)

  • brand/trade mark packaging

Packaging that does not meet the essential requirements or exceeds the set heavy metal content limit will not be placed onto the UK market. There are no thresholds in place with regard to business turnover or the amount or type of packaging handled. Any company that meets the criteria outlined above will be obligated.


What your business needs to do

If your business is obligated under these regulations, packaging must be designed and/ or used that conforms to the specific requirements in relation to weight and volume, recyclability and recoverability. The business must also adhere to the limits on heavy metal substances and the requirements for the minimisation of release of hazardous or noxious substances.

In addition, the business is required to retain evidence that any packaging used conforms with these regulations. This evidence should be kept for four years, starting from the date that the packaging was first placed on the market, and must be made available to an enforcement authority within 28 days of their request.

For more information about Essential Requirements or further guidance please call us today on 03450 682 572, or complete our enquiry form.