Definition of packaging materials

Packaging for the purposes of the Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC means 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 purposes shall also be considered to constitute as packaging.

Packaging Materials are differentiated in.

  1. sales packaging or primary packaging
  2. grouped packaging or secondary packaging
  3. transport packaging or tertiary packaging

Packaging Directive (in Germany implemented as Verpackungsgesetz)

The European Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (Packaging directive 94/62/EC) was adopted to ensure both, take-back as well as proper recycling, and to reduce the volume of packaging waste throughout Europe.

With the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, EU Member States are required to find harmonised rules to reduce, re-use and recycle packaging waste. For over 25 years, the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC has been setting the rules in the EU.

This act was implemented differently in all EU countries. In many EU states, distributors of packaging and manufacturers of packaged products are obliged to register with recovery organisations to provide detailed and clear overviews of packaging and materials, or to find their own solutions, for example for transport packaging. Manufacturers/distributors of sales and transport packaging have an obligation in line with their responsibility as producers, to arrange proper take-back of their packaging.

In Germany it was implemented as Verpackungsverordnung” (Packaging Directive) and became “Verpackungsgesetz” (Packaging Act) on 01/01/2019. It has set out the take-back obligations for manufacturers/distributors.

Sales packaging or primary packaging

Sales packaging or primary packaging, i. e. packaging conceived so as to constitute a sales unit to the final user or consumer at the point of purchase.

Grouped packaging or secondary packaging

Grouped packaging or secondary packaging, i. e. packaging conceived so as to constitute at the point of purchase a grouping of a certain number of sales units whether the latter is sold as such to the final user or consumer or whether it serves only as a means to replenish the shelves at the point of sale; it can be removed from the product without affecting its characteristics.

Transport packaging or tertiary packaging

Transport packaging or tertiary packaging, i. e. packaging conceived so as to facilitate handling and transport of a number of sales units or grouped packaging in order to prevent physical handling and transport damage. Transport packaging does not include road, rail, ship and air containers.