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Packaging for liquid foods 103

The intention with the criteria is to stimulate the development of sustainable produced renewable materials and use of recycled materials in the packaging.

Packaging for liquid foods is not a traditional Nordic Swan Ecolabelled product, since here it is the actual packaging that is Nordic Swan Ecolabelled, and not the product inside the packaging.

Nordic Swan Ecolabelled packaging for liquid foods:

  • Consists of minimum 90% sustainability sourced renewable materials or
    minimum 80% recycled material, in order to conserve the Earth's resources
    and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Fulfils the high requirements for chemicals, for the benefit of health aspects,
    as well as opportunities for recycling.
  • Can easier be recycled, which promotes the circular economy.

Guidelines for the Nordic Swan Ecolabel on packaging for liquid food

  • Fees valid from 1 January 2019

    Type of fee Amount
    Application fee including one on-site inspection within the Nordic region * 3 000 EUR. Paper board used in packaging must be inspected and listed by Nordic Ecolabelling.**
    Renewal fee* 1 500 EUR. Paper board used in packaging must be inspected and listed by Nordic Ecolabelling.**
    More than one inspection visit in the Nordic countries*** 500 EUR per visit.
    Inspection visits in Europe outside the Nordic countries*** 1 500 EUR per visit.
    Inspection visits outside Europe*** 2 500 EUR per visit.
    Extension or change of existing licence**** Charged for how long the work takes:

    < 4 hours: 375 EUR.
    4–8 hours: 750 EUR.
    ≥ 8 hours: 1 500 EUR.
    Annual licence fee for Nordic region 0.3% of turnover per year from 0–50 million EUR. 
    0.05% of turnover per year > 50 million EUR.
    Minimum fee for Nordic region 2 000 EUR per year.
    Maximum fee for Nordic region No maximum fee.
    Fees for sale outside the Nordic region          
    (Only if revenue > 300 000 EUR per year)
    2 000 EUR per year.

    * When both the applicant and the manufacturer are micro-enterprises, the fee is reduced by 50%. A micro-enterprise is in this context defined as an enterprise with less than 10 employees and an annual turnover (of both ecolabelled and not ecolabelled products) below 2 million EUR.

    ** Please note that both cardboard and pulp manufacturers must be inspected and listed by Nordic Ecolabelling in accordance with the "Basic and Chemicals Module for Nordic Ecolabelling of Paper Products". See further in the Criteria Document for Packaging for Liquid Foods, Chapter 3.1.

    *** Where inspection visits require more than one day including travelling, Nordic Ecolabelling can invoice an additional fee of 1 000 EUR per extra day. Other extraordinary costs induced by the inspection visit can also be invoiced the applicant.

    **** We make a distinction between completely administrative tasks lasting less than 1 hour, and all other tasks lasting between 1–4 hours, between 4–8 hours and more than 8 hours.

  • Information on the latest version of the criteria for packaging for food liquids

    1.3 => 1.4: Adjustment of requirements

    Nordic Ecolabelling has decided on the following adjustments:

    • Requirement O7 regarding exemption for black caps for plastic packaging that is included in deposit systems for beverage packaging
    • Requirement O11 regarding change of prohibited wood species

    The new version is called 1.4.

    1.2 => 1.3: Adjustment of requirement and prolongation of criteria

    Nordic Ecolabelling has decided to adjust the exemption for BHT (O17). Furthermore, it has been decided to prolong the criteria with 24 months. The new version is called 1.3 and is valid until 30 June 2024.

    1.1 => 1.2: Adjustment of requirements

    Nordic Ecolabelling has decided on the following adjustments:

    • Requirement O4 regarding migration test requirements (2019-12-10)
    • Requirement O17 regarding exemption for BHT (2020-01-17)
    • Requirement O18 on colours for printing and dyeing (05/05/2010)

    The new version is called 1.2.

    1.0 => 1.1: Adjustments of requirement

    Nordic Ecolabelling decided on an adjustment regarding an exception in Chapter 4 for date stamping on packaging for liquid food on the 29 May 2019. The new version is called 1.1.

    1.0 Adoption of criteria

    Nordic Ecolabelling decided on adopting criteria for packaging for food liquids on the 7 November 2018. Version 1.0 is valid until 30 June 2022.

  • In order to use the Nordic Swan Ecolabel in your marketing, you must have a valid Nordic Swan Ecolabel licence. Please log in to The Nordic Ecolabelling Portal to apply for a licence. You are free to use the Nordic Swan Ecolabel in all of your marketing from the date of approval until your licence expires.

    Go to The Nordic Ecolabelling Portal and start your application process! If this is the first time you apply, please contact to receive login information for the Portal.

    Start by going through the requirements and fees that apply to your specific product group. These can be found above.

    In some cases, you must use our separate application form. For example, the form must be used in cases where the producer and licensee are two separate companies, or if you wish to cancel a licence. Please contact your advisor in these cases, or if you are unsure what applies to you. The form to be used in these special cases can be downloaded here.

    For more details on the application process, please head to our application guide: "Application step by step".

    Good luck with your application!

FAQ Packaging for liquid foods

  • We have a specific Svanen logo that clearly states that it is the packaging that is ecolabelled with Svanen and not the content. We have rules that do not allow this specific Svanen logo to be placed on the front of the packaging. The label also comes with an explanatory text which clarifies this for the consumer.

  • Either the manufacturer of the liquid food or the manufacturer of the packaging can apply and get a license.

  • Most consumers today prefer caps and therefore almost all carton packaging comes with a cap today. In order for the Svanen ecolabel to make a real difference and license a packaging that the consumer wants to buy, we decided to allow plastic corks on the cardboard packaging.

  • We know that the market for plastic packaging will remain, even though many people try to use less plastic in their everyday life. Therefore, the Svanen Ecolabel wants to promote an increased proportion of recycled and / or renewable plastics on the market by only certifying packaging with at least 80 percent recycled and /or renewable plastics, which is higher than the average packaging. The packaging must be recyclable within the existing recycling systems in the Nordic countries. In addition, there are efficient deposit systems for the recycling of PET which is regularly used by consumers.

  • A Svanen ecolabelled PET bottle contains a high proportion of recycled and / or renewable plastic compared to the average bottle. We also have requirements on certification of the raw agricultural material for the renewable plastic and also on additives in the plastic.

  • In order for a glass package to get the Svanen ecolabel, at least 80 percent must be of recycled, unworked glass. Bottles must also be particularly light weight. Clear glass consists of an average of about 45 percent recycled glass. If the percentage of recycled glass is higher, the clarity of the glass is reduced. This means that clear glass can’t get the Svanen ecolabel with current technology, only coloured glass can.

  • An aluminium package with the Svanen ecolabel must consist of at least 80 percent recycled aluminium, which is much higher than the average aluminium can. In addition, the Svanen ecolabel has strict requirements on the additives and chemicals used in the production of the cans. We can see that a large proportion of the aluminium packaging produced today is deposited and recycled by consumers, which the Svanen ecolabel wants to promote.

  • We impose several stringent requirements on the packaging, for example on the chemicals and additives used in the packaging and certification of renewable raw materials. There must be clear routines for quality and sustainability work and the manufacturer must continuously carry out extensive risk assessments of the product's health and environmental impact. One aim is to reduce the risk for migration of dangerous substances to the food.

    Furthermore, - The packaging is manufactured with a lower energy consumption in the production of cardboard materials and plastics - Suppliers must actively work on the recycling design - Raw materials in all packaging must be traceable - All materials harvested from forests for cardboard must be FSC-marked

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