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Home > NIEA > Waste and Resources > Regulation > Packaging Waste > Definition of Packaging

Definition of Packaging

Last updated: 10 May 2010

Packaging is defined in the regulations as "all products made of any materials of any nature to be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and preservation of goods from the producer to the user or consumer."

This applies where the product is one of the following:

  • 'Primary' or 'Sales' packaging is packaging which forms a sales unit for the user or final consumer, for example, a box containing soap powder
  • 'Secondary' or 'Grouped' packaging is that which contains a number of sales units, for example, a cardboard outer containing a number of boxes of soap powder.
  • 'Tertiary' or 'Transport' packaging is packaging that is used to group secondary packaging together to aid handling and transportation and prevent damage to the products, for example, the pallet and shrink wrap used to transport a number of cardboard outers containing boxes of soap powder. For the purposes of the Regulations, this does not include road, ship, rail or air containers.

The main packaging materials included in the regulations are:

  • paper/fibreboard
  • plastic
  • glass
  • steel
  • aluminium

Wood packaging and packaging made from other materials (for example hessian, jute, cork, ceramics and so on) are also included.