Eco-labeling: New packaging obligations will enter into force on January 1, 2023

Article 219 of Italian Legislative Decree No. 116 of September 3, 2020 (which implements EU Directive 2018/851 on waste and Directive (EU) 2018/852 on packaging and packaging waste—“Decree”) sets forth criteria for management of packaging waste and provides that all packaging shall be properly labeled in accordance with the procedures established by the applicable UNI technical standards and the determinations adopted by the European Commission, and that for the purposes of packaging identification and classification producers shall indicate the nature of the packaging materials used, based on Commission Decision 97/129/EC.

To this end and pursuant to Article 219 para. 5.1 of the Decree, the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security (previously the Ministry of Ecological Transition) issued guidelines on the labeling of packaging in Decree No. 114 of March 16, 2022, adopting the “Guidelines on the labeling of packaging, pursuant to Article 219, Paragraph 5, of Legislative Decree No. 152/06” (“Guidelines”—full text accessible here). This first draft of the Guidelines was notified in the European Commission under the TRIS legislation (EU Directive 2015/1535) and received some observations from the European Commission. To acknowledge those observations, the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security drafted a second version of the Guidelines that supersedes the previous version; we were informed that those were adopted with the Decree of the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security on September 27, 2022. The Decree of the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security was then published on November 22, 2022. The Guidelines were based on guidelines proposed by the CONAI (National Packaging Consortium) meant to address new regulatory obligations. The proposal drawn up by CONAI was formulated after a series of working groups had been convened, with UNI, Confindustria, and Federdistribuzione tasked with analyzing and managing the more technical aspects and reports made most frequently by individual companies and associations of producers and industrial/commercial users.

The Guidelines will take effect as of January 1, 2023, as a consequence of the suspension of the labeling requirement until December 31, 2022, under Italian Law No. 15 of February 25, 2022.

Lastly, on November 30, 2022, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on packaging (“Regulation of the European Parliament and Council on Packaging and Packaging Waste”—more information available here), which amends Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 on market surveillance and product conformity and repeals Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. The objectives of this proposal also include Europe-wide harmonization of waste labeling criteria to make it easier for consumers to separate waste and full implementation of digitization to reduce administrative burdens.

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