Packaging is any product, made of any material, to be used for the containment, protection and presentation of goods, from raw materials to processed goods, from the producer to the consumer or user. All “non-returnable” (disposable) items used for the same purposes are to be regarded as packaging.
The definition of “packaging” is also based on the following criteria:
An item is considered to be packaging if it meets the above definition, regardless of other functions the packaging may also have, unless the item is an integral part of a product and is necessary to contain, support or preserve that product throughout its lifetime and all elements are intended to be used, consumed or disposed of together.
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 are considered to be packaging provided they fulfil a packaging function.
Packaging components and ancillary elements integrated into packaging are considered to be part of the packaging into which they are integrated. Ancillary elements hung directly on, or attached to, a product and which perform a packaging function are considered to be packaging unless they are an integral part of that product and all elements are intended to be consumed or disposed of together.
For example, a rigid plastic CD case cannot be considered to be packaging, because the CD is permanently stored in it;
A matchbox, on the other hand, should be regarded as packaging, despite its other function, i.e. being used to strike matches.
In consultation with various interested parties, the IRPC has compiled a comprehensive list of possible doubtful cases, indicating in each case whether or not it is packaging.
This list corresponds to the relevant European legislation.