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Packaging Substance Restrictions

Due to the heavy concentration of metals that they may contain, compliance of packing should be tested and assessed against substance restrictions such as the following chemicals:

  • lead and lead compounds;
  • mercury and mercury compounds;
  • cadmium and cadmium compounds;
  • hexavalent chromium.

Model Toxics in Compliance Packaging Legislation

This Model Legislation first appeared in 1989 and was known as the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) legislation. Overall, their main objective was to reduce the presence of these four heavy metals and their compounds in packaging and its components. Thus, they intended for all the US states to adopt this legislation. However, only 19 adopted it as of 2021. These are the 19 member states of the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH).

The Model Legislation also took hold in the EU where, for example, the packaging and packaging waste Directive 94/62/EC was instated.

Generally, the requirements for these regulations are to prohibit the intentional use of the four metals in any amount. Additionally, any incidental use of these metals cannot surpass a cumulative sum of 100 ppm by weight (0.01% w/w).

European Directives 94/62/EC and 2018/852 - Compliance Packaging Substance Restrictions

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Specifically, for the EU, the packaging and packaging waste Directive 94/62/EC and its 2018/852 amendment require the management of declarations of conformity collected from packaging suppliers.

Further, in virtue of the extended producer’s responsibility (EPR), importers or manufacturers of goods must:

  • Register to national authorities;
  • Subscribe to a compliance scheme and report packaging quantities placed in every Member State;
  • Finance the recycling of packaging waste.

Finally, producers may have to appoint an Authorized Representative (AR). Fortunately, only one packaging AR is sufficient to represent producers in the EU. Whereas AR obligations are similar to battery waste management, they differ from WEEE obligations.

United States Toxics in Packaging

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The toxics in packaging legislations in the US are:

  • TPCH Section 95G of the Revised Code of Washington.
  • The Model Legislation, USA Coalition of Northeastern Governments, known as CONEG.

These laws diverge in the allowable exemptions they allow and the enforcement of their requirements. However, state laws are always precedent over the original Model Legislation.

New Requirements for the TPCH

In February 2021, the US updated the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation. The legislation now includes the following substances:

  • Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS);
  • Ortho-Phthalates, (commonly known as phthalates).


Additionally, they introduced new criteria and processes for regulating and identifying other concerning chemicals in packaging.

Each state will need to adopt these changes within its local laws or issue a new regulation addressing toxic substances in packaging.

Compliance Packaging with Substance Restrictions: How to be Toxics-Free?

Packaging Substance restrictions

We recommend you contact your supply chain and verify whether it meets the strictest obligations in terms of heavy metals limit in packages, i.e.:

  1. The regulated metals –  lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium – were not intentionally added to any package or packaging component during the manufacturing process;
  2. The sum of the incidental concentration levels of lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium present in any package or package component does not exceed 100 parts per million by weight;
  3. Adequate documentation is maintained for inspection upon request.

To do so, you can use the free EPEC Enviropass Product Environmental Compliance Form.

Recycling Symbols on Packaging

Packaging should have recycling symbols. The recycling marking discloses whether the packaging is recyclable and provides information about the packaging materials. The table below summarizes different recycling markings used for various types of materials.

Material Name

Recycling Marking



Applicable to products such as paper boxes, paper crates, and molded pulp forms. May be labeled as “Paper” on the lower portion of the marking.


The recycling symbol contains a code identifying the material used. Examples are:

  • 01 – Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • 02 – High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • 03 – Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • 04 – Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
  • 05 – Polypropylene (PP)
  • 06 – Polystyrene (PS)


May be labeled as “Aluminum” on the lower portion of the marking.


May be labeled as “Iron” on the lower portion of the marking.

Triman Logo

Notably, countries around the world may require additional recycling symbols and information. For instance, France uses the Triman logo along with product recycling.

Other obligations, like EU REACH on Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) and Permanent Organic Pollutants (POP), also apply to packages. You can use the EPEC form to cover all Packaging, REACH, TSCA-PBTCalifornia Proposition 65, and POP requirements.

Ask Enviropass to perform compliance assessments for the packaging you use on your behalf, whether it is about labeling, technical documentation maintenance, or simply following up with suppliers.