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

No packaging can be placed on the UK market unless it meets the essential requirements and the heavy metal content is within the limits set. There are no thresholds applied with regards to business turnover or the amount or type of packaging - any company included in one of the above criteria will be obligated.

What do you need to do

If you are obligated under the regulations, you must design or use packaging that conforms to the specific requirements in relation to weight and volume, recyclability and recoverability. You must also adhere to the limits on heavy metal substances and the requirements for minimisation of release of hazardous or noxious substances.

Along with this, there is an obligation to retain evidence that your packaging conforms; evidence should be kept for four years, beginning from the date that the packaging conforms; evidence should be kept for four years, beginning from the date that the packaging was first placed on the market. Such evidence must be made available to an enforcement authority within 28 days of their request.

For more information about the Essential Requirements, or if you require more guidance call us today on 03450 682 572 or complete our enquiry form.