The EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (originally passed in 1994) calls for the establishment of European standards to be used to implement "essential requirements" for packaging of products that are sold in the EU. Packaging that does not comply with these "essential requirements" was supposed to have been banned from EU markets as of January 1, 1998. Those requirements, however, have never been enforced because the standards on how to comply were never adopted. This new draft of the European standards has just been published and probably will become final in 2000. The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has developed draft standards (see main story) that address the "essential requirements." While these standards are not final, they indicate the direction the European Community will pursue in order to establish minimum criteria for packaging sold in the European market. It's important to note that these criteria will affect primary, secondary and transport packaging.
Europe toughens packaging stance (sidebar)
Original standards never adopted
Feb 28th, 1999