Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Packaging Materials

Little Pro on 2017-03-15

If you supply chemicals or materials that are used to manufacture packaging materials or if you use packaging materials to protect your products, you need to ensure that the packaging materials and their components comply with relevant regulations. Those regulations usually require that the presence of certain hazardous substances (especially heavy metals) in packaging materials and their components be minimized to protect consumers and workers, and reduce environmental emissions.In this article, we will try to summarize the restrictions of hazardous substances in packaging materials in EU, USA and China. Please note that packaging materials intended for food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are not covered in this article since they are subject to more stringent regulations. (i.e, BPA ban in food packaging materials).


Regulations and Standards Requirements on Hazardous Substances
Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste and Its Amendments  The total content of Pb, Cd, Hg and Cr(VI)<=100mg/kg.
REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 EU producers or importers of articles which contain substances on the SVHC candidate list in a concentration above 0.1% (w/w) have to notify their customers. In addition, if the substance is present in those articles in quantities totalling over 1t/y per producer or importer, a notification needs to be submitted to ECHA.


Regulations and Standards Requirements on Hazardous Substances
State Regulations on the restriction of heavy metals in packaging materials issued by 18 states based on model legislation developed in 1989 by the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) and updated in 1998. The total content of Pb, Cd, Hg and Cr(VI)<=100mg/kg.
California's Proposition 65 If packaging materials contain any substances on the list of chemical substances known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, suppliers must give clear and reasonable warning on labels.


Regulations and Standards Requirements on Hazardous Substances
GB/T 16716.1-2008 Packaging and packaging waste – Part 1:General rules of disposal and utilization (Recommended standard) The total content of Pb, Cd, Hg and Cr(VI)<=100mg/kg.

Additional Requirements for Packaging Materials

The control of hazardous substances is just one of many requirements in regulations or standards for packaging materials. 3R principles (reduce, reuse and recycle) also need to be considered when complying with those regulations. 

  • Reduce: Packaging shall be so manufactured that the packaging volume and weight be limited to the minimum adequate amount to maintain the necessary level of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer.
  • Reuse and Recycle: Packaging shall be designed, produced and commercialized in such a way as to permit its reuse or recovery, including recycling, and to minimize its impact on the environment when packaging waste or residues from packaging waste management operations are disposed of.

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