Packaging standards refer to guidelines, regulations, or specifications established to ensure the quality, safety, and sustainability of packaging materials and processes. These standards help manufacturers, retailers, and consumers make informed decisions about packaging design, materials, and handling.

Let us continue to examine packaging standards in the Asia Pacific region.

South Korea: Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources or the Resources Recycling Act

The packaging requirements are typically determined by the Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources, passed in 2013 and consolidated in 2020. The main objective of this Act is to assist in preserving the environment and promoting sustainable development in the national economy by encouraging the use of recycled resources through waste generation control and improved recycling methods.

The act establishes requirements for manufacturing, importing, placing on the market, and recovering waste packaging, further clarified by the Act’s implementing regulations.


• Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): Holding producers accountable for the entire lifecycle of their products, from design to disposal, to encourage the creation of environmentally friendly products.
• Reducing Waste Generation: Encouraging industries and consumers to minimize waste production through better product design, packaging, and consumption habits.
• Promoting Recycling: Enhancing the collection, sorting, and processing of recyclable materials to ensure they are effectively reused.
• Resource Recovery: Transforming waste into valuable resources reduces the dependency on raw materials and minimizes environmental impact.

Key Provisions / Requirements of the Act

The Resources Recycling Act in South Korea sets forth a comprehensive framework for managing waste and promoting recycling. Here are the key requirements established by the Act:

a. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

• Obligations for Producers and Importers: Producers and importers of specified products (e.g., packaging materials, electronics, tires) must take responsibility for the collection, recycling, and disposal of these products.
• Recycling Targets: Producers must meet specific recycling targets for the products they introduce.
• Reporting and Penalties: Companies must report their recycling activities to the government and may face penalties for non-compliance with recycling targets.

b. Volume-Based Waste Fee System

• Pay-as-You-Throw (PAYT): Households and businesses pay for waste disposal based on the volume of waste they generate. This system uses specially designated garbage bags, the cost of which varies by size.
• Encouragement of Waste Separation: The system incentivizes the separation of recyclables from general waste to reduce the volume of non-recyclable waste.

c. Waste Separation and Collection

1. Mandatory Separation: Citizens must separate waste into recyclables, food waste, and general waste.
2. Collection Systems: Local governments provide separate collection systems for different types of waste, ensuring that recyclables are collected and processed appropriately.

d. Recycling and Resource Recovery Facilities

• Infrastructure Development: The Act mandates developing and maintaining advanced recycling and resource recovery facilities to process collected materials efficiently.
• Technological Innovations: Emphasis on adopting new technologies and methods to improve recycling rates and resource recovery processes.

e. Public Awareness and Education

• Educational Campaigns: The government and local authorities are tasked with conducting public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about recycling practices and waste separation.
• School Programs: Schools should integrate waste management and recycling education into their curriculum to cultivate sustainable habits in students from a young age.

f. Plastic Waste Management

• Reduction Targets: Specific targets are set for reducing plastic waste, particularly single-use plastics.
• Innovation and Alternatives: Promotion of research and development for alternatives to plastic and improved recycling technologies.

g. Waste-to-Energy Initiatives

• Energy Recovery: Encouragement of waste-to-energy facilities that convert non-recyclable waste into energy, reducing landfill use and providing a renewable energy source.
• Environmental Standards: Ensuring that waste-to-energy processes meet stringent environmental standards to minimize pollution and emissions.

h. Circular Economy Promotion

• Resource Circulation: The Act promotes a circular economy, where products and materials are reused, refurbished, and recycled to extend their lifecycle.
• Corporate Responsibility: Businesses are encouraged to adopt circular economy principles in their operations, from product design to end-of-life management.

i. Government Oversight and Support

• Monitoring and Enforcement: Government agencies monitor compliance with the provisions of the Act and enforce regulations through inspections and penalties.
• Financial Incentives: The government offers financial incentives and support to businesses and local governments to improve their recycling infrastructure and practices.

India: Packaging Standards

India has various standards and regulations for packaging, with a focus on safety, environmental sustainability, and consumer protection. These standards are developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and other regulatory bodies. Here are some of the key packaging standards:

1. BIS Standards for Packaging

General Packaging Standards

I. IS 9845:1998 –"Determination of Overall Migration of Constituents of Plastics Materials and Articles Intended to Come in Contact with Foodstuffs – Method of Analysis.

The main objective of this standard is to guarantee that the plastic materials utilized in packaging do not leach harmful substances into the food with which they come into contact. IS 9845:1998 is crucial in upholding public health by overseeing the safety of plastic materials used in food packaging.


• Ensuring Food Safety: To ensure that plastic packaging materials are safe for food contact by limiting the migration of potentially harmful constituents into food.
• Regulating Material Quality: To provide a standardized method for testing the quality of plastic materials used in food packaging.
• Compliance and Certification: To help manufacturers comply with regulatory requirements and obtain necessary certifications for their products.


The implementation of IS 9845:1998 offers several benefits:

• Consumer Safety: Protects consumers from the potential health risks posed by harmful chemicals migrating from packaging into food.
• Quality Assurance: Ensures that plastic packaging materials meet high-quality standards.
• Regulatory Compliance: Helps manufacturers comply with national and international regulations regarding food contact materials.
• Market Access: Facilitates access to domestic and international markets by ensuring that products meet recognized safety standards.

II. IS 2508:1984 – Specification for Low-Density Polyethylene Films

This standard outlines the requirements for LDPE films used in packaging, agriculture, and other industrial applications. It establishes criteria for properties such as thickness, tensile strength, elongation, and clarity to ensure that the films meet specific quality and performance standards.

Key Objectives

1. Quality Assurance: To ensure that LDPE films produced and used in India meet consistent quality standards.
2. Performance Standards: To provide guidelines for the performance characteristics of LDPE films, making them suitable for their intended applications.
3. Consumer Protection: To protect consumers and end-users by ensuring the reliability and safety of LDPE films.


• Consistency: Ensures that LDPE films produced by different manufacturers have consistent quality and performance characteristics.
• Reliability: Provides end-users with reliable, high-quality films that meet their needs.
• Safety: Reduces the risk of product failures and ensures the safe use of LDPE films in various applications.
• Market Access: Facilitates market access for manufacturers by ensuring compliance with recognized standards.

III. IS 7408:1990 – Specification for Polypropylene Film

This standard outlines the requirements for polypropylene films, ensuring they meet certain quality and performance criteria. The standard covers thickness, tensile strength, elongation, and optical properties to ensure suitability for their intended uses.


• Quality Assurance: To ensure that polypropylene films produced and used in India meet consistent quality standards.
• Performance Standards: To provide guidelines for the performance characteristics of polypropylene films, making them suitable for various applications.
• Consumer Protection: To protect consumers and end-users by ensuring the reliability and safety of polypropylene films.


• Consistency: Ensures that polypropylene films produced by different manufacturers have consistent quality and performance characteristics.
• Reliability: Provides end-users with reliable, high-quality films that meet their needs.
• Safety: Reduces the risk of product failures and ensures the use of polypropylene films safely in various applications.
• Market Access: Facilitates market access for manufacturers by ensuring compliance with recognized standards.

2. Packaging for Specific Products

I. IS 2771 (Part 1 & 2):1990– Corrugated Fibreboard Boxes

Corrugated fibreboard boxes are essential for packaging due to their durability, strength, and versatility. They are widely used for transporting, storing warehouse items, retail, shipping, and handling. To maintain high quality, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) introduced IS 2771 (Part 1 & 2): 1990. This standard outlines the requirements and testing methods for corrugated fibreboard boxes used in various applications. The standard is divided into two parts, providing requirements for boxes as shown below:

• Part 1: General requirements for single-wall corrugated fibreboard boxes.
• Part 2: General requirements for double-wall and triple-wall corrugated fibreboard boxes.


• Quality Assurance: To ensure corrugated fibreboard boxes meet consistent quality standards.
• Performance Standards: To provide guidelines for the construction and performance characteristics of these boxes.
• Consumer Protection: To protect consumers and end-users by ensuring the reliability and safety of corrugated fibreboard boxes.

Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2022

The management of plastic waste has been a major environmental issue in India. The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 were introduced as the first comprehensive set of regulations to address this concern. These rules aimed to regulate the management of plastic waste by outlining the responsibilities of different parties involved, such as manufacturers, consumers, and local authorities. Over time, these rules have been revised to adapt to new challenges and to bolster the regulatory framework. The Plastic Waste Management (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022 is a significant step, aiming to enhance the management and reduction of plastic waste.

Key Provisions

a. Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics: One of the most significant aspects of the amendment is the phased elimination of single-use plastics. By the end of 2022, the production, sale, and use of certain single-use plastic items were banned including plastic sticks, polystyrene, and plastic packaging less than 50 microns in thickness.

b. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): The amendment strengthens the EPR framework, making it mandatory for producers, importers, and brand owners (PIBOs) to ensure environmentally sound management of plastic waste.

• PIBOs are required to submit an EPR action plan to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
• Establishment of a Centralized Online Portal for EPR registration and reporting.
• Annual compliance reports to be submitted by PIBOs detailing the quantity of plastic produced, imported, and recycled.

c. Plastic Packaging: The amendment provides specific guidelines for plastic packaging, which is a major contributor to plastic waste. It mandates:

• The use of recycled plastic in packaging material.
• Reduction targets for plastic packaging waste, to be achieved through recycling and reuse.
• Mandatory marking of plastic packaging to indicate the type of plastic material used.

d. Ban on Non-Recyclable Multi-layered Packaging: Multi-layered packaging, often non-recyclable, is a significant environmental concern. The amendment bans non-recyclable multi-layered plastic packaging and encourages the use of alternatives that are recyclable or biodegradable.

e. Implementation of Buyback or Deposit Refund Systems: To incentivize the collection and recycling of plastic waste, the amendment encourages the implementation of buyback or deposit refund systems for plastic packaging. This approach aims to increase the return and recycling rates of plastic materials.


• Environmental Impact: The amendment is expected to reduce plastic pollution, particularly from single-use plastics significantly. By encouraging recycling and using alternatives, it aims to minimize the environmental footprint of plastic products.
• Economic Impact: While the amendment may impose additional costs on businesses for compliance, it also opens up opportunities for the recycling industry and the development of sustainable alternatives. The push for recycled materials can create new markets and drive innovation.
• Consumer Awareness and Behaviour: The ban on single-use plastics and the introduction of deposit refund systems are likely to increase consumer awareness about plastic waste. It encourages responsible consumption and disposal practices.

3. Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011

The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, play a key role in India's regulations for packaged goods. Administered by the Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution, these rules guarantee that consumers receive precise information about the products they buy. This helps to safeguard consumer rights and encourage fair trade practices.

Key Provisions

Mandatory Declarations

• Name and Address of the Manufacturer/Importer: The package must display the name and complete address of the manufacturer, packer, or importer.
• Common or Generic Name of the Commodity: The package should clearly state the common or generic name of the commodity contained within.
• Net Quantity: The package must declare the net quantity of the commodity in standard units of weight, measure, or number.
• Date of Manufacture/Packing: The date on which the product was manufactured or packed must be indicated.
• Retail Sale Price (MRP): The maximum retail price, inclusive of all taxes, should be clearly stated.
• Consumer Care Information: Contact details for consumer complaints or queries must be provided.
• Standard Units of Measurement:The rules mandate the use of standard units of measurement (such as grams, kilograms, Liters, etc.) to declare the net quantity of commodities. This ensures uniformity and prevents confusion among consumers.
• Font Size and Legibility: The rules specify the minimum font size for various declarations on the package to ensure that the information is legible and easily readable by consumers.

Packaging and Labeling Requirements:

• Primary and Secondary Packaging: Both primary and secondary packaging must comply with the declaration requirements.
• Tamper-Evident Packaging: Commodities must be packed in a manner that prevents tampering and ensures the integrity of the product.

Exemptions and Special Provisions:

Certain commodities and situations are exempt from specific provisions of the rules. For example:

• Commodities Weighing Less Than 10 Grams or 10 Millilitres: Certain declaration requirements may not apply to these small quantities.
• Wholesale Packages: Packages intended for wholesale are subject to different labeling requirements compared to retail packages.

Each region has its own packaging regulations, but it is important to harmonize global packaging standards to facilitate international trade, ensure product safety and quality consistency across borders, reduce technical barriers to trade, and promote efficiency in global supply chains. This harmonization enables manufacturers to streamline operations and meet diverse regulatory requirements seamlessly, benefiting both businesses and consumers worldwide. Let’s discuss harmonization and the necessity to move towards more sustainable packaging in the upcoming blogs.


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