Beverage packaging, deposit systems and free movement of goods
Indispensable for selling beverages to consumers, packaging becomes part of the waste stream so Member States have taken measures at national level to reduce the environmental impact of beverage packaging and the amount of waste which it generates. Some can however divide the internal market in beverages. Instead of being able to sell the same product in the same packaging in different markets, economic operators must adapt their packaging to the requirements of each individual Member State.
In recent years this situation has repeatedly lead to legal discussions being held between the Commission and Member States on the compatibility of such measures with internal market rules. While their overall goal is often justified for environmental reasons, certain patterns go beyond what is necessary and impede in a disproportionate way the use and marketing of beverages and their packaging.
In a move to prevent further internal market problems and to reduce the number of legal discussions with Member States, the Commission adopted in May 2009 a Communication on "beverage packaging, deposit systems and free movement of goods" which summarizes solutions found and developed so far.
The Communication [747 KB] 's aim is to provide greater transparency on the applicable legal framework by describing some "do's and don'ts" from a Union point of view. Thereby it will guide national authorities, but also provide relevant economic operators with a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the applicable principles.