Packaging and packaging waste



Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste


Directive 94/62/EC sets out the EU’s rules on managing packaging and packaging waste.

Directive 94/62/EC aims at:

Directive (EU) 2018/852 is the last amendment of Directive 94/62/EC and contains updated measures designed to:



The directive covers all packaging placed on the European market and all packaging waste, whether it is used or released at industrial, commercial, office, shop, service, household or any other level, regardless of the material used.


The directive as amended requires EU countries to take measures, such as national programmes, incentives through extended producer responsibility schemes and other economic instruments, to prevent the generation of packaging waste and to minimise the environmental impact of packaging.

EU countries should encourage the increase in the share of reusable packaging* put on the market and of systems to reuse packaging in an environmentally sound manner without compromising food safety or the safety of consumers. This may include:

EU countries must also take the necessary measures to meet recycling targets which vary depending on a packaging material. For this purpose, they must apply the new calculation rules for reporting on the new recycling targets to be achieved by 2025 and 2030.


By 31 December 2025, at least 65% by weight of all packaging waste must be recycled. The recycling targets per material are:

By 31 December 2030, at least 70% by weight of all packaging waste must be recycled. This includes:

Essential requirements

EU countries must ensure that the packaging placed on the market meets the essential requirements contained in Annex II of the directive:

The amended directive clarified the difference between packaging recoverable in the form of composting and biodegradable packaging waste and specified that oxo-degradable plastic packaging (plastic packaging with additives causing it to break down into microscopic particles and contributing to the presence of microplastics in the environment)is not considered as biodegradable packaging.

The European Commission is currently examining how to reinforce the essential requirements with the view to improving packaging design for reuse and promoting high-quality recycling, as well as strengthening the enforcement of the essential requirements.

Packaging recovery systems

EU countries should ensure that systems are set up to provide for the return and/or collection of used packaging and/or packaging waste, as well as the reuse or recovery including recycling of the packaging and/or packaging waste collected.

Producer responsibility

Information systems and reporting



For more information, see:


Circular economy: a circular economy minimises resource input, waste, emissions and energy leakage. It can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse and recycling. It contrasts to a linear economy which extracts resources, uses them, then throws them away.
Reusable packaging: packaging which has been conceived, designed and marketed to carry out multiple trips in its lifetime by being refilled or reused for the same purpose for which it was conceived.
Extended Producer responsibility schemes: systems set up to ensure that producers bear the financial or financial and organisational responsibility for the management of waste stage of a product’s life cycle. By modulating the fees payable by producers for placing packaging on the market, EPR schemes allow producers and EU countries to encourage the design of products and their components which are more respective of the environment.


European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste (OJ L 365, 31.12.1994, pp. 10-23)

Successive amendments to Directive 94/62/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, pp. 3-30)

See consolidated version.

Commission Decision 2005/70/EC of 22 March 2005 establishing the formats relating to the database system pursuant to Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on packaging and packaging waste (OJ L 86, 5.4.2005, pp. 6-12)

See consolidated version.

last update 15.06.2020