Standards and Legislation

For general information on packaging waste legislation please click here

For specific Irish and European Union Legislation please click on the links below.

CEN Standards
The European Committee for Standardisation (Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN)) have published 6 European packaging standards which were agreed to support the essential requirements of Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. They were developed under mandate from the European Commission. Click on the links below to learn more about these standards

EN 13427:2004 standard : Requirements for the use of European Standards in the field of packaging and packaging waste

This CEN Standard guides users through the texts, indicating which standards are applicable to which type of pack:

  • All packs must be assessed against the standard of prevention,
  • Where reuse is claimed, packs must be assessed against the standard on reuse; and
  • Packs must be assessed against at least one and, if appropriate, all the standards on recycling, energy recovery and organic recovery.

EN 13428:2004 standard : Requirements specific to manufacturing and composition – Prevention by source reduction

This standard specifies a procedure for assessing packaging to ensure that the weight/volume of its material content is the minimum to maintain functionality, safety and hygiene and consumer acceptance.
The basis for compliance is to identify the “critical area” which governs the achievable limit for source reduction i.e. if the packaging was further reduced it would fail to meet one or more of the listed criteria below.

  • Product protection
  • Packaging manufacturing process
  • Packing/filling process
  • Logistics (including transport, warehousing and handling)
  • Product presentation and marketing
  • User/consumer acceptance
  • Information
  • Safety
  • Legislation
  • Any other relevant issues

If no critical area is identified, there may be scope for further reduction.

A statement of conformity detailing the assessment procedures and determination of the critical area with all supporting documentation should be available to enforcement authorities.

Heavy Metals
Producers must be able to demonstrate that the minimum adequate amount of heavy metals or dangerous substances has been used in the packaging. The methodology for this is fully explained in a CEN Report on Requirements for measuring dangerous substances in packaging (CR 13695-2:2001).

The following evaluations must be undertaken:

  • Have such substances been intentionally added?
  • Are any of the substances likely to be released into the environment from ash, emissions or leachate resulting from incineration or landfilling of the packaging or any packaging component after use?
  • If any of these substances are likely to be released into the environment, the supplier must ensure minimisation and document the results of the procedure.

EN 13429:2004 standard : Reuse

This standard contains a checklist for assessing the “reusability” of a pack. If the pack fails any of the three tests, it is deemed unfit for reuse:

  • Packer/filler must intend to reuse the pack for its original purpose
  • Must be possible to clean, wash and/or repair the pack after emptying and to refill or reload it
  • A system of reuse must be available, such as a closed loop system (reusable packaging is circulated by a company or a group of companies); or an open loop system (packaging is circulated among unspecified companies, e.g. CHEP); or hybrid system (reusable packaging remains with the end- user and is replenished by a one-way pack, e.g. refill detergent pouches).

*Packs complying with the reuse standard must also be recoverable through material recycling, energy recovery and/or organic recovery.

EN 13430:2004 standard : Requirements for packaging recoverable by material recycling.

This standard contains a formalised procedure by which design, production and use of packaging can be checked against the requirements of various material recycling systems. For material recyclability of packaging/packaged products on the market to be claimed, the supplier must:

  • Ensure that the packaging design takes account of the recyclability of the materials from which it is produced
  • Control selection of raw materials used in production packing/filling operations and where practicable collection/sorting operations to ensure that they do not adversely affect recycling processes
  • Ensure that the design of packaging makes use of materials or combinations of materials that are compatible with known and relevant recycling technologies (innovative packaging can be classified as recyclable provided the supplier is satisfied that recycling infrastructure really is being developed)
  • Establish a system to ensure that new developments in relevant recycling technologies are monitored and recorded and that such records are made available to the design function
  • Take account of the potential change in releases to the environment that will result from introducing the used packaging to the recycling process

EN 13431:2004 standard : Requirements for packaging recoverable in the form of energy recovery, including specification of minimum inferior calorific value.

Packaging claimed to be suitable for energy recovery must be combustible and capable of providing calorific gain (i.e.when the net heat of combustion exceeds the amount required to raise the temperature of the post-combustion substances from ambient temperature to the specified final temperature without heat leaving the system).

Also considered to be recoverable in the form of energy are:

  • Packaging composed of over 50% by weight of organic materials (eg wood, board),
  • Packaging composed of less than 50% of organic materials may be considered
  • recoverable in the form of energy if supported by evidence of calorific gain.
    Thin gauge aluminium foil (up to 50 μm thick)

EN 13432:2000 standard : Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation – Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging.

This standard defines the requirements for packaging to be considered as recoverable through composting and biodegradation. Each packaging material/component must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Being biodegradable as demonstrated in laboratory tests, and to criteria and pass levels laid down
  • Disintegrating in a biological waste treatment process to the criteria and pass levels laid down, without any observable negative effect on the process
  • No negative effect on the quality of the resulting compost when submitted to a biological waste treatment process

Packaging intended for the bio waste stream must be recognisable by the end-user as compostable or biodegradable.

The results of each assessment or test undertaken must be recorded on an assessment checklist and their combined outcome used to determine whether a packaging material is suitable for organic recovery.

CEN Report CR13695-2:2004 : Requirements for measuring and verifying the four heavy metals and other dangerous substances present in packaging, and their release into the environment.

The supplier must be able to demonstrate that only the minimum adequate amount of any substance dangerous to the environment has been used in the packaging or packaging component, with a view to minimising its presence in ash, emissions or leachate from landfills.

The methodology for this is fully explained in the CEN report CR 13695-2:2004 (Requirements for measuring and verifying heavy metals and other dangerous substances present in packaging, and their release into the environment – Part 2: Requirements for measuring and verifying dangerous substances present in packaging and their release into the environment.

Users must determine, with the aid of Safety Data Sheets, whether dangerous substances or preparations which have been used in the manufacturing process are present in the packaging placed on the market. Dangerous substances or preparations are those classified “N” in the relevant EC Directives. If any are present, the user must evaluate the possibility of their release into emissions, ash or leachate. If this is possible, the user must document the substances or preparations identified and demonstrate that they are used to the minimum necessary for achievement of the performance criteria listed in the standard. An appendix provides a decision tree for minimisation of dangerous substances or preparations and demonstration of conformity.