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Edition 1/2005

Decade for Environmental Education, 2005 - 2014

2005 marks the start of the United Nations initiative, the Decade for Environmental Education. Thanks to the decision of the Full Assembly of the United Nations of 20 December 2002, the years 2005 to 2014 have been dedicated as a world decade for "Education for sustainable development", environmental education will become a duty to be undertaken by the whole of society of all countries on earth. The aim of the Decade for Environmental Education is to anchor the concept of sustainability of the programme of action of Agenda 21 in the consciousness of the population as a whole, an essential precondition for guiding individual forms of behaviour and action in such a way that subsequent generations will also be able to benefit from the use and enjoyment of nature.

The United Nations decision is aimed not only at general education, but, from the point of view of European packaging and disposal experts, also imposes an obligation on the companies in this sector to provide the public with the possibilities of ecological action when using and recycling packaging and packaging materials.


Conference for European Packaging Journalists at the IHK Leipzig

Journalists specialising in the packaging sector from 12 countries participated at a journalists' conference in Leipzig hosted by the Leipzig Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK Leipzig) and Duales System Deutschland AG. The conference, held on 10 and 11 November 2004, focussed on the topic of "New Developments in Packaging and Packaging Recycling" and was attended by publishers, executive editors, and publicity specialists from Belarus, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, as well as from Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

The main aim of the conference was to introduce participants to new results from research as well as from significant practical experience. In line with this, the lecture programme provided by the publicity specialists aimed at providing an overview of some of the major developments and advances in the packaging sector and in packaging recycling, which are of international importance. Particular attention was paid, among other things, to the latest studies in the development of the packaging sector in general and the trends which can be identified in this area, as well as new findings with regard to packaging optimisation in the foodstuffs industry and experience with the training of engineers in relation to packaging technology. At SERO Leipzig GmbH, the conference participants were given the opportunity of familiarising themselves with the system which at the moment is the most modern anywhere for the automatic sorting of used lightweight packaging, a system which achieves a degree of purity of at least 95 % from among the different plastics and other materials concerned.


Handbook for Environmentally-Friendly Purchasing

The European Commission has issued a handbook for environmentally-friendly purchasing, aimed at public purchasing organizations, such as schools, hospitals, and administrative bodies. The handbook contains guidelines for taking account of the requirements for environmental protection in the procurement of merchandise, as well as when making decisions for services and construction undertakings.
The need for this handbook is emphasised by the fact that in Europe only 19 % of public purchasing bodies act in a properly environmentally-oriented manner with regard to procurement and the placing of orders for services and construction undertakings. Public purchasing organizations account for a procurement volume in the order of 1.5 billion EURO a year, which corresponds to 16 % of the gross domestic product (GNP) of the European Union.
The handbook can be accessed at: http:europa.eu.int/comm/internal market/publicprocurement/docs/keydocs/gpphandbook en.pdf


Uniform EU Assessment of Packaging

The Council of Ministers of the European Union has published a common standpoint with regard to a guideline or directive, anticipated by professional bodies, relating to a common assessment of sales packaging and aimed at preventing unfair business practices. According to this statement, the aim of the directive is to achieve the maximum possible harmonization in the interests of providing security in law for the consumer. The yardstick for business practices is intended to be the "average consumer", as derived from the jurisprudence and judgements of the European High Court.


Fewer Regulations about Packaging Sizes

The European Commission has worked out a proposal for the deregulation of packaging sizes. This proposal relates to foodstuffs, feeds for pets and domestic animals, and cosmetics and cleaning products. The present European requirements for packaging sizes with relation to these products go back to the seventies, when the national regulations were still presenting an obstacle to trade, to such an extent that common regulations appeared necessary from the point of view of the European market. The risk of consumers being misled by different dimensions of packaging is much less serious today, because substantial progress has been achieved in the interim with regard to consumer protection. By contrast, the large number of regulations is now seen as being an obstacle to the introduction of new products. The deregulation affects ice cream, deep-frozen food products, refreshment beverages, and drinks with low alcohol content, as well as washing and cleaning products, paints and dyes, shampoos, toothpastes, and petfoods. According to the proposal from the European Commission, both the Community size regulations as well as those of the individual states are to be done away with, in "almost all sectors".


European High Court on Protective Rights for Colours and Colour Combinations

The possibility of applying protective rights for the colours used on packaging has repeatedly been the object of numerous disputes over the past few years. Among other issues, the question has arisen of whether colours and colour combinations without specific forms or contours can be protected under trademark law, in accordance with Article 2 of Directive 89/104/EEC. According to a decision by the European High Court of 24 June 2004, trademark protection does apply even if the colours are not arranged in a specific manner. The colour tones and shades must be named, however, and designated in accordance with an international colour classification system.
In any event, according to the High Court, the following preconditions must be fulfilled:

  • It must be determined that the colours or colour combinations do in fact represent a logo or sign in the connection in which they are used.
  • Signs or logos must be capable of being represented in a graphic manner. A sign or logo only fulfils its role as a registered trademark if it can be the object of a precise and constant appraisal, which guarantees the origin of this trademark. Accordingly, its use must include a systematic arrangement, in which the colours concerned are connected in a predetermined and consistent manner.
  • The signs or logos must be capable of distinguishing goods and services from one company from those of another company. Colours do not inherently possess any force of distinction.
According to the judgment from the European High Court, the general interests of other elements of the economy should not be prejudiced without justification by the implementation of protective rights. The Court further stipulates that the provisions for trademark protection cited in Directive 89/104/EEC must be fulfilled.

Research at the Packaging Department of the Academy of Economics of Cracow

At the Packaging Department of the Academy of Economics of Cracow, among the subjects for research criteria are the quality assessment of packaging and the assessment of the publicity effect of packaging. The research programme at Cracow also covers the reliability of packaging, the ecological aspects, and the relationships between the product, the packaging, and the environment, as well as means of exploiting a knowledge of merchandising and logistics. The research is carried out in a close relationship with actual practice. The results of the research are presented in the specialist press as well as at conferences and symposia. Members of the Department have accordingly taken part in eight symposia and conferences in Poland in recent years, as well as at specialist gatherings and events in Austria, China, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, and the Ukraine.
The address for enquiries is: Akademia Ekonomiczna w Krakowie, Katedra opakowalnictwa towarow, ul. Rakowicka 27, PI-31510 Cracow.


8th International Conference on Current Trends in Commodity Science

Current trends in commodity science and merchandising are to form the focus at the 8th International Conference, to be held as a symposium by the International Society for Commodity Science and Technology from 28 August to 2 September 2005 at the Faculty of Commodity Science of the University of Economics of Poznan. Proposals for main topics of discussion include: Research into quality, integrated product policy, product ecology, sustained management, new materials and technology, and trends and progress in teaching and research in the field of commodity science. This will provide many opportunities to discuss new findings in the packaging sector from both research and practice, and to analyze the requirements for packaging development arising from new results in commodity science. The International Conference Committee has prominent figures from 12 countries as members.
Applications and enquiries should be sent to: Prof. Dr. Cierpiszewski, Faculty of Commodity Science, The Poznan University of Economics, ul. Niepodlegosci 10, PI-60967, Poznan, Poland. Tel.: 04861-8569381, fax: 04861-8543993, E-mail: ICOMSC@ae.poznan.pl


European Co-operation in Packaging Matters

A wealth of information about the development, status, and opportunities for further development is provided by an anthology of contributions, entitled "The European Packaging Institute - EPI - Aims, tasks and perspectives", published in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Institute. The first topic addressed by this volume is "The European Packaging Institute in the Service of a Progressive Packaging Sector", a contribution which demonstrates the importance of the co-operation, which the Institute strives to achieve, for a region in which 20,000 companies produce packaging materials to a value of some 85 billion Euro.
In another contribution entitled "Stages in Development hitherto - Initiatives, Results, Documents", light is cast on the development of European co-operation in connection with the development of the Institute. In this context, it is shown how the exchange between institutions and associations has developed into proposals for European co-operation, and what steps it became possible to take after the establishment and official registration of the Institute. Reprints of publications on the activity of the Institute and the nine publications issued by the Institute under the title "Reports, News, Notifications" also provide details of the initial results of the Institute's work.
These contributions provide answers to many questions which have arisen recently regarding the activities of the European Packaging Institute. Those interested in membership will also find the Statute of the Institute in this volume, as well as an index of previous member institutions and associations.


Europe Goes Green Dot. Published by the Green Dot - Duales System Deutschland AG, New Edition, Cologne 2004/2005

Now that the Green Dot has been introduced into a number of countries, such as Sweden and Cyprus, the need has arisen for the brochure to be revised which provides information about the Green Dot in Europe. The new edition provides 59 pages of information, in particular about the organizations which provide service in the 22 countries which now use the Green Dot. This also takes account of the provisions of the law, on the basis of which these organizations work, as well as the financing of the systems, co-operation with municipalities and waste disposal associates, as well as the results obtained so far and the prospects for the future. A special chapter has been allocated to each organization. One chapter, entitled "Unity in Diversity - The European Roof for the Green Dot Organization in Brussels" is dedicated to the "PRO EUROPE" organization, within the framework of which the organizations operating in the individual countries apply their co-operation.
A comparison of the new version with earlier editions shows clearly the progress which has been achieved within a short space of time. For example, the Green Dot has already been introduced in nine countries which joined the European Union in 2004. Users of the brochure are provided not only with a large amount of useful information about current practice in the different countries, but also with the addresses needed to establish contact.
Anyone interested can request a copy of the brochure from Duales System Deutschland AG. The address is: Duales System Deutschland AG, 51170 Cologne, fax: 02203 937190.


Product Handbook: What Becomes of Plastic Packaging with the Green Dot. Published by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kunststoff-Recycling mbH (German Association for Plastics Recycling), Cologne.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kunststoff-Recycling (German Association for Plastics Recycling) has published a comprehensive 157-page handbook, as a revised version of the product origin catalogue written by Dr. Stefan Bosewitz, in the Association's role as the provider of guarantees for the use of plastic packaging with the Green Dot, which provides details of the state of development which has been reached with the recycling of packaging made of plastics. The overview of the progress achieved recently is combined with a presentation of the targets set for the years to come, and in particular with regard to the aims of increasing the proportion of material recycling in the overall quantity being reprocessed, as well as reducing the expenditure and cost of energy and the costs of processing and recycling processes.
A chapter entitled "Collecting, Sorting, Recycling", which provides information in particular about the state of the art in terms of sorting technology, introduces readers to the possibilities for recycling which are currently available, and the techniques applied are then presented in subsequent chapters. These chapters are entitled: From the Yoghurt Pot to the Plastic Chair, Pearls for the Building Industry, Pipes and Rocking Horses from Shampoo Bottles, Raw Material from the Ice cream Cornet, Mixed Plastics Save Resources - in the Steel Industry and on the Building Site, Products from Mixed Plastics and Films, and Nonwovens from the Bottle. As these titles indicate, the chapters consider not only the raw materials but also the intermediate products, and the end products in particular. Numerous illustrations show the intermediate and final products and their application. The last part of the handbook consists of a list of manufacturers and products, manufacturers' addresses, and a glossary and index of key words.


Proceedings of the 14th IGWT Symposium. Focussing New Century: Commodity - Trade - Environment. 27-29 August 2004. Beijing, China 2004. Two volumes, 1041 pages.

These volumes contain more than 200 contributions, which, as the title already indicates, cast light on the results of commodity research into problems of ranges of merchandise as well as of trade and the environment in the 21st century. The publishers have assigned the contributions to the three sections of Commodity, Trade, and the Environment. All contributions are printed in English. The focus in the first part is on the development of new materials as well as technologies and products, questions of product quality and merchandise testing, and matters relating to quality management and training in the commodity science and merchandising sector. Particular emphasis in the first part is on the contributions ranging from the significance of nanotechnology for commodity science, to the discrepancy between the value and the economic inefficiency of merchandise packaging, and the methodology behind the examination of packaging projects. These contributions are in the first volume.
The second volume contains contributions relating to trade and environmental questions, with parts 2 and 3 of the Symposium contributions. Two contributions may be of particular interest, which deal with the requirements imposed on packaging arising from the practice of E-commerce. Mention should also be made of the sections dealing with the range of plastics used for packaging purposes, and the possibilities of extending the storage life of foodstuffs.