Packaging Waste in the EU (Directive 94/62/EC)

The European Community adopted the above Directive, which is closely based on the earlier CONEG (Confederation of North-East Governors) legislation from the United States. The aim of both of these is to reduce the quantity of heavy metals used in packaging and which eventually enter the waste stream.

The materials controlled by the Directive are:

  • lead
  • mercury
  • cadmium
  • chromium(VI)

Please note that only the more hazardous (VI) (chromate) form of chromium is covered : there is currently, however, no known method of analysing packaging materials separately for chromium(III) and chromium(VI).

The Directive was adopted by the EC member states on 30th June 1996 and has since been implemented in national legislation. The following limits are set for the four materials above which may be present in "packaging":

  • 600 ppm total Pb+Hg+Cd+Cr(VI) by 30/6/1998
  • 250 ppm total Pb+Hg+Cd+Cr(VI) by 30/6/1999
  • 100 ppm total Pb+Hg+Cd+Cr(VI) by 30/6/2001

The above limits refer to the total quantity of the materials present in the sample and not to acid-extractable metal content.

The word "packaging" is defined in the Directive as being "all products made of any materials of any nature to be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods, from raw materials to processed goods, from the producer to the user or the consumer. 'Non-returnable' items used for the same purpose shall also be considered to constitute packaging."

JMB can supply, on request, data for the average cadmium contents of any of its pigments. No JMB pigment contains more than trace levels of any of the other three controlled materials.

Please feel free to contact us for further information and advice on this subject.

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