article / 23 May 2023
New regulation on packaging: is your business affected?
A new Swedish regulation on responsibility for packaging entered into force on 1 January 2023. The regulation imposes stricter requirements on companies that handle packaging in any way in their business (including manufacturing, using or selling packaging and importing packaging or packaged products), and will entail significant costs. This article summarises the new requirements.
Extended producer responsibility
Extended producer responsibility has been in effect in the EU for many years. The new Swedish regulation (2022:1274) replaces the regulation of 18 July 2018 (2018:1462) and aims to reduce the amount of packaging and to ensure that packaging waste is handled acceptably in terms of the environment and health.
What companies are affected by the regulation?
All companies that are considered “producers” will be subject to the regulation. The definition of a “producer” is broad and covers several types of packaging management. According to the regulation, a producer is any entity that professionally:
- fills or otherwise uses packaging (that is not a service packaging) to protect, present or facilitate the handling and transport of goods;
- brings a packaged product into Sweden;
- manufactures packaging in Sweden;
- brings packaging into Sweden; or
- sells packaging or packaged goods from a country other than Sweden to an end user in Sweden.
What kind of packaging is covered?
The new regulation applies to single-use articles or other types of products that have been manufactured in order to:
- contain a product;
- protect a product;
- present a product;
- used to deliver a product; or
- handle a product in other ways.
Examples of the packaging covered are consumer packaging, group packaging and transport packaging that facilitates handling and transportation and is designed to prevent damage to products.
What are the requirements of the regulation?
All producers of packaging must register as packaging producers with the Environmental Protection Agency before making any packaging available on the market. Furthermore, a producer must use or provide a producer responsibility organisation approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The responsibility organisation must undertake to take care of the producer’s packaging when it becomes waste. In addition, the regulation stipulates a reporting obligation, under which a producer is obliged to report to the Environmental Protection Agency on annual basis. The report must include the quantity and type of packaging that has been made available on the Swedish market by the producer during the preceding calendar year.
If a producer does not comply with the regulation, the Environmental Protection Agency may impose an injunction, combined with a fine.
The new regulation entails significant and increased responsibility for companies that are deemed producers under the regulation. Companies that have not already adapted to the regulation will need to do so promptly to avoid sanction.
We would be happy to provide further guidance should you need any assistance.