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Packaging Reduction and Empty Space Limits

Various regulations also attempt to prevent excessive packaging through specific requirements, in addition to the incentives that result from fee structures. Several countries have implemented regulations regarding empty space and the permissible number of layers in a packaging system. South Korea has strict limits on empty space, allowing no more than 10-35% of a single product to be headspace or concealed empty space, or 25-40% of a "set" product (e.g. a gift box containing several packaged products). Australia has limits on the maximum allowable empty space that depend on the category of product and ranges from 25-40%. There is a limit of 40% empty space in Japan for cosmetic products and proposed legislation in other countries such as Taiwan. Similarly, both New Zealand and Canada have regulations that forbid deceptive packaging that mislead the consumer with respect to the quantity of product.

Empty Space in Packaging Many countries, such as Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, Slovakia, Spain, and South Korea, require companies to submit a detailed packaging reduction plan. These plans must outline the long-term goals of the manufacturers to reduce their packaging. The European Commission may make packaging reduction plans a reporting requirement across Europe in the future. Reduction plan requirements vary greatly; some countries (Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands) require a company to develop a plan only if they are manufacturing or packing goods in that country, whereas others (Spain, Slovakia) require a plan if the quantity of packaging placed on the market exceeds a specific tonnage.

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