Packaging Reduction and Empty Space Limits
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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.
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.