The Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive is the continuing effort of the European Commission to minimize the impact of waste on the environment.
The P&PW Directive requires each member state to meet the continually rising standards of recovery set forth by the European Commission. Since the burden of proving their compliance lies with each member state, countries are individually responsible for setting up a recovery system to meet the EC standards.
In most cases, the recovery system set up by the member states turns the responsibility back to producers.
The European Commission also sets physical standards that apply directly to producers. These standards - concerning functional packaging, packaging components, packaging constituents, and packaging materials - must be met before approval is given that a product may be placed on the EU market.
Recovery can be effectively put into four categories: Recycling, Energy Recovery, Composting and Biodegration. These are the methods to which each member state is required to meet the EC standards.
Each category is defined as follows:
A certain percentage by weight of material used to manufacture must be extractable from the product for reuse.
Packaging must have a minimum inferior caloric value to positively contribute in a waste incinerator.
Packaging waste shall not impede the composting process of the compost to which it is introduced.
Product shall be of such a nature that after decomposition it becomes carbon dioxide, biomass, and/or water.
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