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European Packaging Institute (EPI)
Reports, News, Notifications - English Edition 3/2008

European Commission action plan for sustainable consumption and production

With the title “Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Action Plan”, the European Commission has published an action to promote sustainable consumption and production. The plan states that concrete proposals will be placed before the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in spring 2009. The aims of the action plan are to replace ecologically questionable products with products which meet the requirements of sustainability, influence consumers with the objective of changing their buying habits and to replace high energy consumption products with low energy consumption products. The aims also include the establishment of a dynamic policy based on life cycle analyses and the definition of minimum requirements and progressive standards for green actions. For this reason the plan consists of the communication for sustainable consumption and sustainable production and the conclusion for procurement procedures by authorities. Other plans include a directive for the ecological design requirements for products which consume energy and proposals for a Community eco label and for the voluntary participation by organisations in the environmental management system and the audit programme.

Definitions for waste management in the countries of the European Union

After the approval of the revised version of the “Waste Framework Directive” on 17 June 2008, the European Commission is currently preparing a series of documents relating to various aspects of waste prevention. This is set out in the latest 44th Bulletin of EUROPEN, the European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment. According to the Bulletin, the European Commission intends to develop guidelines for waste prevention for the member states of the European Union – as a prerequisite for the uniform action by the 27 EU countries in waste management and therefore also to avoid barriers to trade. By the year 2020, 50% of household waste and similar waste made of these materials must be reused or recycled.

New study published for the EMBALLAGE on developments in the packaging field

In preparation for the EMBALLAGE 2008 global packaging exhibition in Paris, a new study has been produced on developments in the field of packaging. The basis for the study, which looks at the period up to 2010, was provided by 378 interviews with manufacturers of the packaging machines and packing materials and with packaging users. Some 238 of the interviewees were buyers of packaging materials. The interviews showed that the increasing ecological awareness of the general public is gaining significance in the selection of packaging materials. This means that although particularly high growth rates are expected for packaging made of plastic, high growth rates are also expected for packaging made of paper, carton and cardboard. Other drivers and ideas for future developments include the requirements for great cost efficiency, increased safety and more convenience.

Development of logistics and requirements for packaging

An international scientific and practical conference attended by people from four countries was held on 16 and 17 May 2008 in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan and provide an insight into the logistics situation in Eastern Europe and planned developments. The main results of the conference have now been published by the organisers, the ARMENPAK Association, the State Engineering University of Armenia, the French University in Armenia, the Russian Logistics Coordination Council and the Russian trade journal “Logistika” through the Antares publisher in Yerevan in the form of a collection of articles entitled “Transport-Logistika”. The publication contains 22 articles comprising a total of 138 pages in the Russian version. In the volume, Igor Smirennyi, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the European Packaging Institute, explains the role of packaging for logistics processes and therefore also the importance of packaging for logistics.
If you are interested in the publication, please contact the publishers, Antares, RA Yerevan 0009, pr. Maschtotza 50a/1.

Results of the EU SUSTAINPACK project

The development of green fibre-based packaging was the main objective of the SUSTAINPACK research project which was funded by the European Union to the tune of 16.7 million euros. The reason behind the research project was the question as to the requirements which must be satisfied to launch competitive packaging made of renewable raw materials on the market within ten years. The project partners included STFI Packforsk and the Universities of Bologna und Karlstad, Pira International, the Fraunhofer Institute and industry partners from several European countries who worked on a total of six part projects. These were related to the market needs, the launch of nanotechnology in the production and processing of cellulose, the development of foils made of fibre materials and biological plastics as well as coatings to improved the barrier effect and printing capacity, along with fibre-based 3-D packaging solutions and the improvement of the “customer approach” with packaging.
If you are interested you can view the reports on the results achieved in the part projects at http://www.sustainpack.com/reports.html.

Packaging as a stimulus for economic growth

A study which is due to finish in April 2011 is currently being carried out at the Polish Packaging Research and Development Centre COBRO in Warsaw in conjunction with the Norwegian research company, STØ AS, entitled “Packaging as a stimulus for the economic growth of the region and environmental protection on a regional scale”. The selected region for the study is Mazovia, which has Warsaw at its centre. With the areas located around it, the region being studied supplied 84% of total Polish fruit production and 54% of vegetable production in the country. Some 9% of the fresh fruit and vegetables are currently exported. In addition to methods for improving the quality and in particular the storage capacity of the products and reducing the transport risks, the study will also look into the criteria for the evaluation and selection of packaging. The programme also includes methods for reducing adverse influences on the environment, particularly by reducing the use of resources.

Internet system for packaging development

A system is currently being created at the Polish Packaging Research and Development Centre COBRO in Warsaw for the development of packaging using the internet. The studies required for this purpose are being conducted as part of the research project entitled “Packaging as a stimulus for the economic growth of the region and for improving environmental protection”. The partner in these studies, which are being conducted with financial support from Norway, is the Institute for Agriculture and the Food Industry in Warsaw. The system is due to be completed by 2011 and already has a name, “The packaging selection support internet system -e-hortipak-cobro-eu”. The development work will cover both the interests of the packaging manufacturers and the needs of wholesalers and retailers. The main focus of the studies is packaging for gardening products where unsuitable packaging results in heavy losses and can reduce opportunities for making sales. Sales have fallen in Poland over the last few years.

Three doctorates in packaging in Poznan

The Faculty for Goods Theory at the Economic University of Poznan has awarded doctorates to three scientists for studies in the field of packaging. Two of the topics which were supervised by Prof. Dr. Zenon Foltynowicz, look at questions of the use of oxygen traps in packaging and the role of nanoparticles in improving the quality of packaging.
The dissertation entitled “Practical aspects of new oxygen traps based on molecular sieves and selected organic substances” was written by Ms Emilia Frydrych. On the basis of model packaging, the author studied the possible applications of non-metallic oxygen traps with terpenes and phenol derivatives on the molecular sieves.
The subject of the dissertation written by Ms Patrycja Jakubiak was the “Effect of nanoparticles from cellulose derivatives on application properties”. In the studies the influence of cellulose acetate propionate on material properties was investigated. The results include the verification of possibilities for replacing previous plastic additives with biodegradable substances.
The third dissertation supervised by Prof. Dr. Maciej Urbaniak looked at the “Conditions of the process of product innovation development on the packaging market”. Ms Agnieszka Kanczukowska-Stadnik looked at the relationships between product innovation and the development of primary packaging and the competitive advantages which can be gained from being aware of these relationships.

Gift packaging as a topic for display and advice

The increasing importance of packaging for so-called gift articles was one of the main discussion topics at the 33rd Trade Fair for Gift and Home Ideas, CADEAUX, which was held from 6 to 8 September 2008 in Leipzig. The trade fair was attended by 390 exhibitors from 12 countries. The trade fair was accompanied by seven workshops on the subject of “Magical gift packaging and festive decorations” and also a “Trend Table”, in the course of which representatives from three market research agencies discussed current trends in the industry and possible ideas for future trends. Those who attended the workshops were given a wide range of ideas about how gifts can be packed attractively after they have been purchased and how the range of gift packaging can be used effectively. The lectures given during the workshop demonstrated that gift packaging and packing gifts in shops is attracting an increasing amount of attention. During the course of the “Trend Table”, examples were used to show how eco awareness is being reflected in product design.

The euregia 2008 reflects regional development and international cooperation

The euregia 2008, the Exhibition for Local and Regional Development in Europe, which was linked to an international congress and more than 20 conferences, was held from 27 to 29 October 2009 in Leipzig. Some 60 exhibitors from seven countries, mainly Belgium, Germany, Macedonia, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, attended the exhibition which proved to be Europe’s largest communication and benchmarking forum for regional development and territorial cooperation. The exhibitors included university and other higher education facilities as well as research institutes, company and other associations and authorities. At the forums, the discussions centred on regional economic development as a counterweight to the globalisation of the markets and the methods of support provided by the European Union from the point of view of the new support period extending to 2013. The other topics included matters relating to cluster and regional management and territorial dialogue as a form of cooperation as well as opportunities to support transnational cooperation.

High requirements on health claims

On the basis of Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 passed by the European Parliament and the Council dated 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, to date a total of 40,000 applications for health claims regarding the relationship between food and human health have been prepared in the countries of the European Union, with no less than 8,000 of these health claims originating in Germany. The European Food Safety Authority EFSA presented just a very few of these applications for assessment in Parma.
The first reports have been disappointing. For example, in the view of the assessors, seven out of eight of the applications contained insufficient evidence. A typical example of this was the application made for a food additive which, according to the unproven claim of the manufacturer, is designed to “support, stimulate and modulate … the immune system”. The claim that milk products also produce healthy teeth and help the development of children was also rejected. According to information from the Parma-based authority, 90% of the applications received to date have been defective. It is becoming increasingly clear that the personnel in many companies who are responsible for packaging and consumer information do not have the requisite expertise in the field of goods theory.

European initiatives for the CO2 footprint

The Organisation Carbon Trust formed in Great Britain has started a pilot project to create a method for calculating the “product carbon footprint” in conjunction with several manufacturers of branded products. This initiative is designed to create the conditions for the launch of a CO2 label, in other words a special label which takes into account emissions of greenhouse gases during the various stages of the supply chain. 20 companies have already subscribed to the initiative. The identification and labelling of the climate relevance of consumer goods is also a subject of great debate in France, Austria and Switzerland whilst in Germany a project group known as “Carbon Footprint” has been formed on the initiative of the foil manufacturer, Wipack Walsrode, to help customers obtain the CO2 values which relate to products and packaging.

CO2 tax for packaging in the Netherlands

A CO2 for packaging has been introduced in the Netherlands. This tax is designed to increase the use of packaging which, according to the latest findings, only have a marginally adverse effect on the Earth’s climate.

VDI regulations relating to requirements for transponder systems

Regulations relating to the requirements for transponder systems have been produced by the Association of German Engineers (VDI) by evaluating national standards and safety guidelines. The latest regulation bears the title VDI 4472, Sheet 5 – Requirements on transponder systems for use in the supply chain. In producing the document, the authors based their work on the fact that the introduction of technology incurs massive costs and meets with scepticism in industry, primarily as a result of the lack of standardisation.

Ukrainian joint venture partners

A collection of articles comprising 255 pages and published in Kiev bears the title “Flagship for the Ukraine” and reports on the remarkable progress being made in science and the economy in that country. The reader is provided with the names of major joint venture parties in the Ukraine – ranging from the Ukrainian Academy for Architecture to manufacturers of packaging such as the Kiev-based company, Paket. The publication of the volume has been supported by companies in the packaging industry and by secondary materials recyclers.