Case C-530/15, Melitta France – card core, hardcore packaging law

Inside a roll of toilet paper is a cardboard core. Does this internal element form part of the toilet paper’s packaging? It is a question which has stymied the French courts. The answer depends on the word ‘packaging’ which is found in the EU’s ‘packaging and packaging waste’ Directive 94/62/EC. If the answer is that the cardboard core does constitute packaging, then potential casualties of the CJEU’s ruling will not just be France’s toilet-paper makers but also France’s manufacturers of absorbent kitchen paper, aluminium foil, and even cling film. However, if the answer is no, then the Conseil d’État would like to know whether the EU Commission has acted ultra vires when enacting an ancilliary packaging Directive that has expanded the definition of ‘packaging’ still further. Many millions of euro are at stake.

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