Paper manufacturing efficient design and resource use

Paper and cardboard manufacturer packaging obligations


If you place packaging on the market you are responsible for ensuring that it meets environmental standards. If you place large amounts of packaging on the market, you are also responsible for the cost of recovering and recycling a calculated amount of the packaging when it becomes waste, based on the amount you create.

Your paper and cardboard business may manufacture or handle packaging products, such as containers and filling. You may also produce packaging waste.

If you produce, fill, supply or handle packaging the packaging regulations will affect you.

Producing and supplying packaging and packaged products

If your business produces packaged products, imports packaged goods into the UK or places packaging or packaged goods on the market, you must:

  • not exceed limits on concentrations of certain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury in your packaging
  • use the minimum packaging necessary
  • produce packaging that can be reused, recovered or recycled
  • keep records for four years as evidence that you are complying

These requirements are enforced by the Department for the Economy - see packaging design and use - your environmental responsibilities.

You must also comply with the duty of care for waste - see waste responsibilities for paper and cardboard producers.

Your obligations for packaging waste

If your business handles, manufactures, converts, packs, fills, supplies, leases, hires or imports over 50 tonnes of packaging or packaging materials in a year and has a turnover exceeding £2 million per year, you must:

  • register with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), either directly or through a compliance scheme
  • pay for the recovery and recycling of a certain amount of packaging waste
  • provide the NIEA with evidence that you have met your obligations - if you are a member of a compliance scheme they will do this on your behalf

See packaging producer obligations - who they apply to.

To store any packaging waste before it is recycled you may need an exemption from waste management licensing - see waste permits, licences, exemptions and pre-notification for paper and cardboard producers.

Reducing and recycling your packaging waste can help you to comply with packaging legislation and cut costs - see how to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging.