European draft packaging standards

The European Commission is taking a new approach in its directive on packaging and packaging waste. The directive is designed to minimize the environmental impact of packaging and to ensure the functioning of a single European market.

The directive sets forth “essential requirements” with which packaging must comply but leaves details of technical specifications up to standardization bodies such as the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).

Packaging that meets the environmental criteria in the directive may freely circulate in the market. CEN recently issued draft packaging and packaging waste standards offering practical advice to manufacturers on how to set up management systems to comply with the essential requirements. These standards are the first issued in the environmental field. CEN will open a six-month comment period in September with the goal of having revised standards adopted in spring 2004.

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