Packaging is an integral part of a wide range of products. Their primary function is to conserve the goods in unchanged quality until it is consumed. When the packaging ceases to serve for the purpose it was made for, it becomes a waste. However, many packaging wastes are very easy to recycle and could serve as resources for generation of new products, for example other packaging. To make the recycling process as effective as possible, it is necessary to sort out the packaging waste to the individual components according to it´s material composition, and so it is importatnt to put the packaging waste off within the separate collection of waste.

The rules for the packaging a packaging waste management are determined by the Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste, which is transposed into Czech legislation by Act no. 477/2001 coll. on Packaging.

This Act applies to the management of all packaging which is placed on the market or into circulation in the Czech Republic, with the exception of containers used in road, railway, or air transport or in sea or inland waterway transportation pursuant to international conventions which are binding upon the Czech Republic.

The basic obligations of this law are the fulfillment of the concentration limits regarding hazardous substances contained in packaging, ensuring the take back of packaging waste and it´s recovery in accordance with the objectives of the Directive. These targets are expressed as the percentage amount of packaging waste which must be recycled or recovered. The other provision of this Act is the definition of the basic rules for the returnable and reusable packaging management.

To comply with the take back and recovery obligations, there are three possibilities for the person who places packaging on the market or into circulation, according to the Packaging Act:
  • a) individually by organizational and technical measures at this person's account; or
  • b) by transferring these obligations to a third person together with the transferral of the ownership rights to the packaging to which the obligations are related for the purposes of the repeated placing of the packaging into circulation, where the agreement on transferring the ownership rights explicitly stipulates; or
  • c) by concluding an agreement with an authorised packaging company on providing the performance of obligations concerning the take-back and recovery of packaging waste.

The Packaging Act also establishes the obligation of keeping records on packaging and packaging waste. Details of the record keeping are set by the Decree no. 641/2004.