Commission takes Denmark to court over ‘Can Ban’

The European Commission decided to make an application to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against Denmark because its general ban on the use of metal cans for beverages does not comply with the Packaging Waste Directive.


The Commission says the decision stems from its investigation of several complaints alleging that the Danish can ban and the ban on non-refillable but still recoverable plastic and glass packaging for domestic beverages are contrary to the Directive and the Treaty establishing the European Union (EC Treaty). The relevant Danish beverage packaging legislation forms part of Denmark’s implementing measures for the Directive.

Under the terms of the Directive, Member States cannot impede the marketing on their territory of packaging which satisfies the provisions of the Directive. These provisions concern the composition and the reusable and recoverable nature of packaging.

The Commission considers that it is possible for metal cans (whether made from aluminium or steel) to fulfil the essential requirements for composition and nature of packaging set out in the Directive. Therefore, it should be possible to place them on the market. This applies also in respect of non-refillable but still recoverable plastic and glass packaging.

The Commission issued Denmark with an official warning in 1998, but in response the Danish authorities made it clear that they do not intend to amend the relevant Danish rules or lift the ban.

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