The US CONEG legislation (Confederation of North Eastern Governors) aims to reduce the problems faced by the authorities of disposing of their increasing waste mountains. In particular, it seeks to minimise the use of heavy metals and their compounds in packaging. The materials covered by CONEG are lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium (VI) - though no current analysis method is able to distinguish between Cr(III) and Cr(VI) in packaging. The CONEG requirements refer to the total quantities of the various controlled species present, not to acid-extractable metals.
CONEG covers both packages as a whole, as well as "packaging components" - these include, but are not restricted to, interior and/or exterior blocking, bracing, cushioning, weather-proofing, exterior strapping, coatings, closures, inks and labels.
The model CONEG legislation suggests that, once a state has enacted it into law, the total content of Pb+Hg+Cd+Cr(VI) in packaging and packaging components must not exceed 600 ppm after two years, 250 ppm after three years and 100 ppm after four years.
A number of states have already adopted CONEG-style legislation and others have legislation pending. Several states have chosen to modify the model CONEG legislation to suit themselves.
Please feel free to contact us for further information and advice on this subject. Please also note that this information sheet refers only to the situation in the USA : another information sheet is available which deals with the situation inside the European Union.