What are the Packaging Regulations?
The European Union (Packaging) Regulations 2014 apply to all businesses that place packaging, packaging material or packaged products on the Irish market, i.e. manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers. The purpose of the Packaging Regulations is to ensure Ireland reaches national recovery and recycling targets as set out by EU Directives.
Under the regulations, packaging means any material, container or wrapping, used for or in connection with the containment, transport, handling, protection, promotion, marketing or sale of any product or substance, including such packaging as may be prescribed.
A producer is defined as someone who, for the purpose of trade or otherwise in the course of business, sells or otherwise supplies to other persons packaging material, packaging or packaged products.
A major producer means a producer who supplies more than 10 tonnes of packaging, packaging material or packaged products to the Irish market annually and who has an annual turnover of €1 million or more.
Specified packaging means waste aluminium, fibreboard, glass, paper, plastic sheeting, steel and wood.
What Are Producers Obliged To Do?
To comply with their obligations under the packaging regulations, 'major producers' are now required to become a member of an approved body. Repak operates Ireland’s only existing approved body for packaging. Previously, producers had the option to 'self-comply' under local authority oversight. However, this has been removed.
To assist producers impacted by the change, REPAK will provide switcher assistance for 'major producers' who previously self-complied.
The new regulations come into operation on 1 January 2023 and the legislation can be found here
Local authorities are responsible for the enforcement of the Packaging Regulations within their respective functional areas. Fines of up to €3,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment can apply for breaches of the regulations on summary conviction in the District Court. Fines of up to €500,000 and/or prison sentences of up to 3 years may be imposed following conviction on indictment.