Producer responsibility for packaging
The rules on producer responsibility for packaging will for the first time be fully implemented in Denmark. The producer responsibility will come into force 1 January 2025. It is estimated to cover some 40,000 businesses. The purpose is to reduce the consumption of packaging and to increase the collection, recirculation, and recycling of existing packaging materials. Producer responsibility applies to all types of packaging, regardless of material, shape, and use. In connection with extended producer responsibility, environmental targets for the collection and recycling have been enhanced.
What we know so far
In Denmark, the producer responsibility for packaging must enter into force 1 January 2025 at the latest. An act has been passed and adopted, but we are still awaiting the statutory order. The order will detail the provisions about which businesses will be covered by the duty of registration and reporting, financial responsibility, and the distribution of roles among the parties. We expect to the statutory order to be ready during 2023.
The basic principles are the same
Basically, the regulatory mechanisms are the same for all product groups subject to producer responsibility. Therefore, within the area of packaging, businesses covered by the regulation are subject to Danish registration and reporting, as well as requirements for financing schemes, and environmental targets.
The political discussions taking place during the implementation process may affect the detailed provisions in the coming statutory order. The so-called statutory order on packaging is still in the preparatory stage, and we are awaiting the consultation draft.
On this page you can find an outline of what we know so far about the upcoming Danish implementation of producer responsibility for packaging and packaging waste.
From directive to regulation
On 30 November 2022, the EU Commission presented a proposal to amend the packaging directive. Based on the objective for the Member States to apply the rules equally and simultaneously, the expanded and enhanced requirements for the future production of packaging and the handling of waste from it, have been formulated as a regulation - and not as previously a directive. The purpose of the highly detailed regulation can be briefly expressed as: Less packaging waste, more recycling and refilling and only reusable packaging by 2030 at the latest.EU-Commission press release
Agreement and recommendations
During the implementation process, a Cooperation Forum for Producer Responsibility established with representatives from industrial organisations and local authorities has published their recommendations for the organisation of responsibility for and management of packaging. In addition, the Danish Parliament has entered a political agreement on the coming requirements and scoping in relation to the packaging legislation.See “The political agreement”
What is packaging?
Packaging 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. All disposable products used for the same purpose are also considered as packaging.
Packaging and distribution of responsibilities
The categorisation of packaging is based on the material of which the packaging is made. Next, the shape, application and use will affect all or part of the set of rules. Generally, the conception, design and use of the product plays an important role in this set of rules.
Packaging is made of the materials listed below, and you should use this categorisation in your registration and reporting of quantities. If a mix of materials has been used in the conception of the packaging, you should use the term “Composite”. Special rules apply for this type of packaging, as you can only report one of the materials if it makes up less than 5% of the total weight of the packaging cf. Art. 6c 2. in EU-Decision
See EU-Implementing Decision 2019/665 on packaging formats relating to database system
Cardboard and paper
Reporting of packaging
Reporting of quantities per packaging material
Paper and cardboard
1. New packaging placed on the market
All packaging (kg/pcs) of which sales packaging (kg/pcs)
2. New packaging placed on the market
Reusable packaging of which reusable sales packaging (kg/pcs)
Reusable packaging of which repaired wooden sales packaging (kg/pcs)
3. Packaging waste generated
All plastic packaging waste
All wooden packaging waste
All metal packaging waste
All aluminum packaging waste
All glass packaging waste
All paper and cardboard packaging waste
4. Recycled in Denmark
Share of reusable sales packaging in all sales packaging year -3-2-1
Share of repaired wooden sales packaging in all sales packaging year -3-2-1
In addition to these reporting requirements, you must also report where the recycling of packaging waste took place; in the EU or outside the EU. You will also need to report whether some of the material was incinerated or handled in another recovery option.
See EU Commission guidance for reporting
Packaging is also categorised after its use. Packaging is divided into the groups primary, secondary, and tertiary. In addition, there is a special packaging called service packaging.
First level of protection af the product and conceived so as to constitute a sales unit to the final user or consumer at the point of purchase. Primary packaging is an active part of the product’s appearance.
Grouped packaging displaying the product conceived so as to constitute at the point of purchase a grouping of a certain number of sales units. It can be removed from the product without affecting its characteristics.
Transport packaging, i.e. packaging conceived so as to facilitate handling and transport of a number of sales units or grouped packagings in order to prevent physical handling and transport damage.
"Service packagings" are basically empty packagings filled at the point of sale.
All producer responsibility fields are covered by targets for collection of used products and materials per member state. Of these collected quantities there are furthermore minimum requirements for recycling and recovery of each material group, in percent by weight. These targets for recycling and recovery apply to each member state, and also to each business or compliance scheme subject to producer responsibility.
Percentage targets for recycling of packaging materials
|Material||Current targets (weight%)||Coming targets (weight%) - from 2025||Coming targets (weight%) - from 2030|
|Ferrous metals||50 (incl. Al)||70||80|
|Paper and cardboard||60||75||85|
Packaging definitions and concepts
In addition to the different categorisations of packaging materials, the design, conception, and use also determine what you have to do as a producer, user or importer of packaging in Denmark. Therefore, in the following we give an outline of concepts and definitions that are key in the packaging legislation; they may indicate whether your business is subject to a responsibility.
Other packaging therms
In addition to the above, there are a number of other concepts and definitions that, combined, may decide which requirements your business may have to meet in connection with the producer responsibility for packaging.
For example, the packaging directive defines “service packaging” as follows:
- Service packaging – “Items designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale and ‘disposable’ items sold, filled or designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale shall be considered to be packaging provided they fulfil a packaging function.”
Further to the description of service packaging it may be needed to make a distinction between ”empty” and ”filled” packaging.
Composite packaging of plastics and aluminium
Composite packaging consists of one or more layers of different materials that cannot be readily separated and that make up one integrated unit consisting of an inner container and an outer laminate or a shell that is filled, stored, transported, and emptied in this form.
The definition of reusable packaging reads ‘packaging which has been conceived, designed and placed on the market to accomplish within its lifecycle multiple trips or rotations by being refilled or reused for the same purpose for which it was conceived’.
So, a distinction is made between packaging conceived for being used one or more times. In particular, the choice of materials and product design decide whether a packaging can be used more than once. Thereby, it is primarily the person responsible for the packaging design and choice who can affect the packaging’s impact on the environment.
Therefore, it will most often be the business that can affect the choice of packaging that will be subject to producer responsibility; generally, this will be the brand owner and the owner of the product to be filled in the packaging.
A specially regulated packaging type that is also a single-use plastic product; it is therefore regulated in the single-use plastics directive and the packaging directive.
Lightweight is broken down into the following values:
“Lightweight plastic carrier bags”: plastic carrier bags with a wall thickness below 50 microns
“Very lightweight plastic carrier bags”: plastic carrier bags with a wall thickness below 15 microns which are required for hygiene purposes or provided as primary packaging for loose food when this helps to prevent food wastage.
In the packaging directive this regulation means that EU countries must set up permanent targets for the reduction of consumption, including a maximum consumption of 40 bags per person and year no later than 2025. Incentives may be created by targets and pricing, including the requirement that lightweight carrier bags must not be handed out free of charge as from December 2018.
Who has producer responsibility in Denmark?
The political agreement entered by the Danish Government and a broad majority of the Danish Parliament on 30 August 2022 sets out, among others:
“that the producer responsibility will rest with the business in the value chain that has the largest influence on the design of the packaging, insuring that the financial incentive for reducing material consumption and designing with an eye to and recycling is placed on the right player.”
Individual or collective compliance
Similar to other producer responsibility fields those of you who are subject to the producer responsibility can choose to assume this producer responsibility individually or you can join a compliance scheme. If you deal in electronics or batteries and are already affiliated to a collective scheme, you may check whether this scheme will also cover the producer responsibility for packaging. If so, you only need to report in one place.
32.5 million tonnes
of cardboard packaging waste in 2020
15.5 million tonnes
of plastic packaging waste in 2020
15.5 million tonnes
of glass packaging waste in 2020
225.8 kg /year
of packaging per EU resident
See how to register as a producer or an importer in the producer register
Economy and fees
See current fees for products subject to producer responsibility
Marking of packaging
See marking requirements and codes to be used for packaging products
Packaging - legislation
See the statutory basis for producer responsibility for packaging
See Recommendations from Cooperation forum for Producer responsibility
Read “The political agreement” on packaging
See legislation on future minimum requirements for all producer responsibility fields
Find producer registers in other EU countries