Data source
Date of text
29 Apr 2004
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
International court
Reference number
Court name
European Court of Justice
Timmermans, C., W., A.
Rosas, A.
von Bahr, S.
labelling, waste collection, Waste management, waste recovery, waste storage, waste treatment

The Landesgericht (Regional Court) Korneuburg referred to the Court for a preliminary ruling pursuant to Article 234 EC questions concerning the interpretation of Article 3(1) of European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste and of other Community provisions.
These questions had arisen in the context of an action brought by Plato Plastik Robert Frank GmbH, which manufactured and distributed plastic bags, against Caropack Handelsgesellschaft mbH (‘Caropack’), which marketed them, concerning the latter’s refusal to provide confirmation that it had joined the system for the collection and recovery of packaging waste.
The first question from the national court was whether the plastic carrier bags given to customers by retailers for taking their purchases away were packaging within the meaning of Directive 94/62.
The Court held that in the present case, the plastic carrier bags handed to customers in shops were intended to contain and protect the goods purchased by them and to facilitate their transport from the shop to the place of consumption. After they have been used, these bags were normally disposed of, whether empty or containing waste. Therefore, it was concluded that the plastic carrier bags handed to customers in shops met the two conditions laid down in Article 3(1) of Directive 94/62. They were covered by the definition of packaging in Article 3(1).
Besides that, Court analyzed the meaning of the word ‘producer’ in the first subparagraph of Article 3(1) of Directive 94/62. It held that it was used to describe one of the functions of packaging, which was to facilitate the transport of goods from the producer, that was to say the producer of the goods, to the consumer or user of those goods.
It was clear from the terms of the provision that ‘producer’ related to the goods to be packaged, not to the packaging or the packaging material.
Therefore it was held that, in the context of the first subparagraph of Article 3(1) of Directive 94/62, ‘producer’ referred to the producer of the goods, not the manufacturer of the packaging products.