The European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules on packaging, in the form of an EU Regulation, replacing the existing Directive.
The new Regulation has three main objectives:
(1) to prevent the generation of packaging waste: reduce it in quantity, restrict unnecessary packaging and promote reusable and refillable packaging solutions.
(2) to boost high quality (‘closed loop’) recycling: make all packaging on the EU market recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030.
(3) to reduce the need for primary natural resources and create a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials, increasing the use of recycled plastics in packaging through mandatory targets.
The proposal on packaging and packaging waste will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council.
The proposal is here. The Q&A is here.
On 18th February, DEFRA (the UK Environment Ministry) opened up a series of consultations on proposals to change the way waste is managed –
(1) reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system – the proposals will affect producers of packaging, and plastic packaging, at all stages of the chain – here.
(2) introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the Scottish Government had launched a consultation for distinct elements of a DRS, this consultation closed on 25 September 2018 – the proposals relate to drinks containers – here.
(3) introducing a plastic packaging tax – this was announced at the 2018 Budget, to apply from April 2022 on manufactured and imported plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content – here.
Waste legislation and policy is a devolved matter in the UK. Today, DEFRA published its Waste Strategy for England, replacing the 2011 waste review and 2013 waste prevention programme. The document “Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England” is here.
This 2018 strategy has the stated aim to contribute to the delivery of five strategic ambitions:
1 To work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025;
2 To work towards eliminating food waste to landfill by 2030;
3 To eliminate avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan;
4 To double resource productivity by 2050; and
5 To eliminate avoidable waste of all kinds by 2050.
The document states –
As most of our existing waste legislation is EU-derived, this will be retained in UK law through the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018. And proposals which follow from this Strategy will take account of the future relationship we negotiate with the EU on environmental matters. Where existing legislation is insufficient to deliver our ambition we will take new powers to do so, including through our Environment Bill. And we will work with the devolved administrations to co- ordinate policy on resources and waste, to ensure that approaches are aligned and impacts on the UK Internal Market are minimised.
In Europe, safety data sheets are governed by the EU REACH Regulation and are changing. One of the changes is to align with EU Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP). CLP implements the international Globally Harmonised System for standardising the classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS).
Here is the EU OSHA guidance on EU CLP.
In the US, safety data sheets are also changing.
Here is the US Department of Labor OSHA Guide to GHS which refers to the GHS “purple book” and gives a lot of detail.
Here is the US OSHA Fact Sheet on the new US ‘Hazard Communication Standard Final Rule’.