ISO Standards for packaging and the environment

Issue 47 – March 2013

One issue facing households, local authorities, and landfills is packaging from purchased items. ISO has published several Standards on packaging and the environment.

  • ISO 18601:2013 Packaging and the environment – General requirements for the use of ISO standards in the field of packaging and the environment. ISO 18601 specifies requirements and procedures for the other Standards in this series on packaging and the environment: ISO 18602, ISO 18603, ISO 18604, ISO 18605, and ISO 18606. ISO 18601 applies to a supplier responsible for placing packaging or packaged goods on the market.

  • ISO 18602:2013 Packaging and the environment – Optimization of the packaging system. ISO 18602 specifies requirements and a procedure to assess packaging to ensure that the weight or volume of its material content is optimised, consistent with the functions of packaging. This is one of several options to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment. The procedure to apply this Standard is contained in ISO 18601.

  • ISO 18603:2013 Packaging and the environment ­– Reuse. ISO 18603 specifies the requirements for packaging to be classified as reusable and sets out procedures for assessment of meeting the requirements, including the associated systems. The procedure to apply this Standard is contained in ISO 18601.

  • ISO 18604:2012 Packaging and the environment – Material recycling. ISO 18604 specifies the requirements for packaging to be classified as recoverable in the form of material recycling while accommodating the continuing development of both packaging and recovery technologies. It sets out procedures for assessment of meeting its requirements. The procedure to apply this Standard is contained in ISO 18601.

  • ISO 18605:2013 Packaging and the environment – Energy recovery. ISO 18605 specifies the requirements for packaging to be classified as recoverable in the form of energy recovery and sets out assessment procedures for fulfilling the requirements. The procedure to apply this Standard is contained in ISO 18601.

  • ISO 18606:2013 Packaging and the environment – Organic recycling. ISO 18606 specifies procedures and requirements for packaging that are suitable for organic recycling.

    • Packaging is considered as recoverable by organic recycling only if all the individual components meet the requirements. Therefore, packaging is not considered recoverable by organic recycling if only some of the components meet the requirements of ISO 18606. However, if the components can be easily, physically, separated before disposal, then the physically separated components can be individually considered for organic recycling.

    • ISO 18606 applies to organic recycling of used packaging but does not address regulations regarding the recoverability of any residual packaged goods.

Together with the new AS/New Zealand Standard for waste electrical equipment AS/NZS 5377:2013 Collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment, there is now a good toolset to help deal with the waste streams that today's lifestyle is generating.

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Published in environment.

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