- Published on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 13:09
CHINA – With the implementation of the Excessive Packaging Law, China aims to reduce its packaging waste and tackle the “widespread over packaging phenomenon” in the country, according to Wang Yuande, Director of the China Technology & Standardization Research Office.
In his keynote presentation at a special roundtable session, organised by PackWebasia.com, held in Shanghai on 29 March, Wang explained the role of China’s Excessive Packaging Law GB 23350-2009 (Restricting Excessive Packaging Requirements of Food and Cosmetic) and the key elements of the Law that brand owners, packaging design agencies and converters have to comply with.
The session began with an introductory presentation by 15-year veteran of the Asian Packaging market, Stuart Hoggard, publisher of the Singapore-based industry online journal, PackWebasia.com, and author of the Environmental Packaging Compliance Guide “Asian Packaging & Environmental Laws” – who set the restrictions against the background of packaging growth in China and the three key laws that impact the industry: The Circular Economy Law and The Method for Administration of Recycling Packaging Materials.
“China is the only country with legislation that specifically sets regulations to reduce over packaging” said Hoggard “Many other countries do include packaging in Consumer Protection legislation; however China has gone one step further and regulates the number of permitted layers, the amount of headspace and even has a formula for the calculation for the accepted cost of packaging as a ratio of the product cost.”
Hoggard explained the entire legislative framework for the regulations; a Mandatory Standard, backed by other key environmental laws such as the Solid Waste Law and Cleaner Production Law, that led to the development of the Excessive Packaging Law.
Elaborating on the legislative detail, Wang explained that the prime objective was to prevent consumer deception by overpacking products.
“While it may be difficult to implement a general Standard for a wide variety of packaging formats and end-uses, over packaging is an issue that cannot be ignored given China’s booming development pace. Hence, the current Excessive Packaging Law targets food, beverage and cosmetic packaging, and governs packaging headspace and layers,” said Wang.
While the Law is a mandatory technology regulation, “if there is no intentional violation or consumer fraud, entities will not be penalised,” Wang said. “Since the Standard was implemented, no serious violations have occurred,” he noted.
He also explained how companies should calculate their packaging headspace and layers to ensure their packages are within legal limits.
Wang, who is also co-Chair of the International Standards Organisation Committee ISO/TC122/CS4/WG1 in charge of formulating the new Packaging and Environment ISO series of standards for common use requirements (ISO CD18601), also updated delegates on progress on the work of the International Packaging & Environment ISO committee.
Staffan Sjöberg of Swedish paper manufacturer Iggesund Paperboard AB followed with an explanation on the practical application of sustainability across the entire lifecycle of paperboard packaging.
The Iggesund Public Relations Manager and Sustainability Spokesman, and member of the advisory board for the Graphic and Packaging Design Programme of Mid Sweden University, showed how the company functions on a cradle-to-cradle system, securing its constant supply of renewable forests while ensuring minimum impact on the environment.
The roundtable meeting closed with a question-and-answer session led by Geoff Giddens, Food Packaging Regional Associate Director Pepsico, who moderated the event.
The lively discussion saw members of the audience seeking further clarification on the Excessive Packaging Law from Wang, as well as learn how the Chinese government is working, through other regulations, to promote sustainable practices such as recycling.
Chen Wen from the Production Technology Management Department of Shiseido’s China operations said, “The roundtable session was very enlightening, clearing up questions we’ve had about the country’s environmental legislation for packaging.
“With the knowledge we’ve gained from this event, we’ll now be better equipped to making the right packaging decisions for our marketed products in China.”
For more material and information on China’s Excessive Packaging Law and The Method for Administration of Recycling Packaging Materials, visit our on-site bookstore.