Directives on packaging and packaging waste
The aim of the European Parliament and Council Directive on packaging and packaging waste, adopted in 1994, is to harmonise the differing national measures concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste and to provide a high level of environmental protection.
The Packaging Directive has since undergone a number of revisions. For example, the recovery rates have been increased in order to improve the recycling of packaging waste in Europe. Moreover, member states have been given guidance on possible measures for reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags. On the basis of this amendment, Germany has imposed a ban on certain types of plastic bags being placed on the market.
One of the key elements of the Packaging Directive is the concept of extended producer responsibility. Given that packaging usually has a rather short lifetime and quickly ends up being waste, producers of packaging are responsible for the collection and disposal of packaging waste and also have to bear the related costs.