The packaging institutes and organisations, which have been working in 15 European countries for quite some time, are increasingly confronted with common problems. The solution of these problems is becoming more and more urgent owing to the development of the European single market, the extension of the European Union and the ongoing globalisation. So far, the institutes and organisations working on a European level, such as the EPF (European Packaging Federation), the PRO Europe (Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe), or the PRO CARTON (Association of European Cartonboard and Carton Manufacturers), have not been able to deal with these problems. Moreover, international unions of packaging institutes, such as the IAPRI (International Association of Packaging Research Institutes) or the IPPO (International Packaging Press Organisation) co-operate only to a limited degree.

So far, the co-operation of European packaging institutes and associations has not been developed systematically. The exchange of information has been limited to publications, working reports and talks at conferences and fairs. As yet, there are agreements between only a few partners, e.g. between the German Packaging Institute and the Ukrainian and the Lithuanian Packaging Association. Specialists and managers from 15 countries were included in the international further education courses organised by the Arbeitsstelle Leipzig of the German Packaging Institute and the chamber of commerce of Leipzig in connection with the Duales System Deutschland AG and other partners. In these courses, the significance of a co-operation on a European level was emphasised on. It showed that there are only a few sectors for which this is as important as for the packaging sector. Additionally, the packaging industry is important for all sectors in which products are developed, manufactured, transported, sold and consumed. The decisions on packaging depend on a great number of conditions and regulations relating to the production of goods and packaging materials, and the effects of these decisions stretch into the disposal and recycling of used packages.

The number of packaging problems that can only be solved on a European level increases due to the European Single Market and the development of economic relations. European authorities and organisations as well as multinational companies are facing a lot of questions of European dimensions which cannot be solved by national institutes and associations alone.

Thus, the foundation of the European Packaging Institute meets an urgent need of society and the economy. The institute provides the organisational preconditions for a progress in the European packaging industry by

  • ensuring the systematic and regular exchange and distribution of information
  • the development of research programmes and the coordination of research topics relevant to the solution of European packaging problems
  • by conferences, seminars and events of further education
  • by promoting co-operation, e.g. by including universities and colleges and by supporting the exchange of information between university teachers, students, scientists, and practical people.

The most important tasks in the first three years of activity are

  • the tracking down of the most urgent problems in the packaging sector that have to be solved on a European level
  • the analysis of the conditions provided by the national packaging institutes and associations for the solution - or the co-operation in the solution of the problems in the packaging sector
  • the creation of conditions for co-operation and the development of new possibilities for progress in the packaging sector Role of the EPI