Packaging FAQs

What is the legal status of the standards?

Use of the standards is voluntary, but for packaging that conforms to the standards, there is a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements of the Directive. This means that if packaging complies with the standards, the burden of proof is reversed. The packaging cannot be denied access to any country in the European Economic Area on grounds of non-conformity with the Directive, unless the enforcement authorities can prove that the packaging has not been produced in conformity with the relevant standards.

What practical benefits do the standards bring?

Packaging designers and specifiers across Europe now have access to consistent expert guidance on how to integrate environmental considerations into their decision-making. Major distributors and packer/fillers insist that their suppliers implement effective quality management systems, and increasingly they refuse to purchase from those which have not. To secure competitive advantage, good suppliers are keen to demonstrate that they have adopted best practice.

When should my company start using the standards?

Straight away. Companies selling packaging materials or components, finished packaging or packaged goods which end up on the British, Czech or French markets may either be directly asked to demonstrate compliance with the Essential Requirements, or may be asked to do so by a customer further along the supply chain. The UK enforcement authorities say that packer/fillers, brand owners and importers must show that they have taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to ensure their packaging complies with the Essential Requirements. They must have a quality management system  appropriate to their business which covers all regulatory requirements, operate the system properly, document it, and identify all reasonable steps and take them.

What are the penalties for failure to comply with the standards?

There are no penalties for failing to comply with any standard: standards are always voluntary. However if a producer chooses not to comply with the standards, or is deemed not to be in compliance with them, he must demonstrate that he has taken alternative measures to fulfill the Essential Requirements. The Directive obliges member states to ensure that packaging may be placed on the market only if it meets the Essential Requirements.


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