Directives and laws are increasingly demanding the identification of materials and types of recycling containers

¿Why do directives and laws increasingly demand that the brand producer identify the type of packaging and where it should be recycled?

The reason is that the most important recipients of any conversation about product labeling and identification of packaging are consumers, end-users, and those who decide whether the packaging is reusable or goes to recycling or composting. In residential and commercial settings, consumers and end-users are generally responsible for determining which container to place their products and packaging in after use. Thus, they are the first line of defense in the effort to provide composters or recyclers with a stream of organic or otherwise clean materials free from contaminants.

How can we expect people to make the right decision at the disposal point if products and packaging are not clearly labeled? And how are composters and recyclers supposed to verify if the products and packaging arriving at their facilities are recyclable, bio-based, compostable and biodegradable, use recycled content, or contain hazardous substances?

We will increasingly encounter laws that define how to label items for this purpose. The complexity lies for brand producers who want to distribute to different countries and need to know the laws of each country and which symbols they should use.

In the case of Europe, the European Community in the Department of Environment is working to create standard distinctive labels for all member states, allowing consumers to classify recycling. However, we do not know when they will formally publish it.

In a horizon of 3-8 years, packaging will have to comply with a series of delegated acts or implementing measures, and possibly impact assessment reports. These will cover verification of compliance with sustainability requirements, conformity assessment systems, as well as information and labeling. The following is a detailed list of planned actions proposed by the EU in packaging regulations:

  • Information obligations on recycling targets, collection of certain packaging formats, and consumption of plastic bags;
  • Recyclability requirements for certain categories of packaging;
  • Harmonized information standards for extended producer responsibility schemes;
  • Harmonized calculation and verification standards for recycled content in packaging;
  • Review of recycled content targets in light of technical and economic advances;
  • Review of recycled content targets in light of technical and economic advances, consumer sorting, reusable packaging, recycled content, compostable, and QR codes and other digital data carriers;
  • Digital data carriers;
  • Review of exemptions to restrictions on hazardous substances in packaging;
  • Establishment of mandatory minimum criteria for green public procurement.
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