European Packaging Institute (EPI)
Report, News, Notifications - English Edition 1/2006
Five Years of News from the European Packaging Institute e.V.
In 2006 the regular newsletters of the European Packaging Institute e.V. reach
their fifth anniversary. In these newsletters, which are published under the
title "Reports, News, Notifications", members and partners of the
Institute as well as other parties interested in the development of packaging
in Europe, are kept informed of the plans, projects and initiatives of the Institute
as well as of other important developments and studies. This also encompasses
news of significant activities of other institutes and associations and of those
important measures taken by the European Union and other international organisations.
In the years 2001 to 2004 nine editions with more than 100 contributions were
published. In 2005 three editions with 42 contributions were issued. Alongside
reports on the activities of the Committee of the Institute as well as those
of the European Union and international organisations, contributions from nine
countries were featured.
Recommendation: European Technological Institute
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the possible
aims and tasks of a European Technical Institute. The institute would further
innovative activities and the dissemination of knowledge. The critical areas
of the consultative process are the mandate of the institute as well as the
aims and the appropriate structure of the proposed European institution. Should
the European Council approve the recommendation to set up the Institute then
the European Commission would prepare the necessary legal framework for the
establishment of the Institute.
More information can be found under http://www.europa.int/comm/education/eit/index
From the 24th - 27th September 2006 the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre invites
visitors to that city to the first INNOVATIONSPARC PACKAGING. The Innovationsparc
takes place in association with the InterMopro, InterCool and InterMeat trade
exhibitions and is designed to promote ideas for the use of new and innovative
packaging concepts in the food processing industry. Among the exhibits are expected
to be packaging materials for dairy, meat and sausage products as well as for
frozen foods and also new developments in the field of radiofrequency identification
(RFID) for labelling and display purposes.
Of all the packaging materials produced in the world today 40 % are used for
food products, 4 % for the catering industry and 15 % for drinks packaging.
Environmental Strategy of the EU up to 2012
The development of the European Union towards a "Recycling Society"
and the establishment of standards and yardsticks for waste reduction are the
central planks of the environmental strategy to be pursued by the European Commission
up to the year 2012. Part of this is also the proposal to overhaul the waste
regulations and guidelines passed almost 30 years ago.
According to the information presented to the European Commission the volume
of refuse waste in the member states of the Union has grown disproportionately
in recent years. The volume of refuse is currently lying at more than 1.3 thousand
million tonnes per annum. According to the Millennium Report published by the
United Nations, 15 of the 24 ecosystems which supply raw materials and facilitate
life on Earth are being exploited with adverse affect or unsustainably.
Developments in the Areas of Packaging and Packaging Material Utilisation
The Association for the advancement of the international exchange of environmental
technology - ITUT e.V. - and the Dual System Germany AG company invited journalists
and publicists to a special seminar on the 7th - 9th November 2005 entitled
"New Developments in the area of Packaging and Packaging Material Utilisation".
Within the programme of this discussion meeting were topics on the themes "Present
and Future Developments in the area of Packaging", "Developments in
Packaging Machine design - future concepts through Total System design",
"Biodegradable Plastics in the Packaging Market - a success story for the
future?" as well as "Packaging Recycling - the Green Dot in Germany
and Europe". The participants in the seminar also had the opportunity to
get to know the Environmental Research Centre (UFZ) in Leipzig - a large scale
research institute of the Helmholtz Association - and to see the largest fully
automated sorting unit for light domestic waste in Germany at SERO Leipzig as
well as the viewing at Grosspoesna near Leipzig the largest mechanical-biological
refuse handling installation - MBA Croebern - in Germany. At the conclusion
of the seminar a discussion took place in Berlin with the Parliamentary Deputy
Helmut Koenigshaus on the topic "Prospects for the Recycling Industry in
Taking part in the discussions were 28 specialists from 12 countries, alongside
German journalists and experts were contributors from France, Great Britain,
Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Switzerland,
the Czech Republic, as well as Hungary and Belarus.
From these lectures and talks the participants had an overview of the significant
experiences and knowledge which have been gained from studies into the development
of packaging materials and methods as well as from the experience in packaging
recycling in Germany and other European countries. At the same time they were
also acquainted with important new developments in packaging technology.
From some of the studies presented it is clear that the worldwide increase in
the usage of packaging materials will continue over the coming years and that
the still very considerable variations in packaging standards and development
levels are gradually being overcome. It is particularly important that new opportunities
presented by the increasing level of knowledge are exploited in full and that
the new demands based on environmental recognition and the requirements of Corporate
Social Responsibility are taken into account. More consideration needs to be
paid moreover to the ratio between packaging and product quality. If, for example,
as with many products, the ratio of packaging to product quality is between
15 - 25 % and the packaging cost amounts to only however between 0.5 and 2.7
% of the total production cost, then it is self evident that with only very
small additional expense on the packaging a significant benefit to the product
can be achieved.
In the area also of packaging machine technology new demands arise. For example
with the packaging machines of the future it will be expected that they will
be capable of automatically assessing packaging material characteristics and
of self regulating and monitoring product quality as well as meeting the expectation
of up to 50 % weight reduction and a much reduced energy consumption (anticipated
up to 40 % below the current energy usage)
The foreign participants also followed with particular interest the contributions
on the activities of the Dual System Germany AG company and the PRO EUROPE Organisation.
The Dual System Germany AG company has, since its inception, converted 61,330,281
tonnes of packaging waste, in 2004 this equated to 63 kgs per head of population.
The company currently has 19,000 customers, among these 25 % are foreign companies.
The Green-Dot Organisations from 25 countries belong to the PRO EUROPE association
which exploits the knowledge and experience gained in Germany. Through their
national organisations some 120,000 companies use the Green Dot as their licensing
Advisory Council for Bioplastics
Representatives of 14 companies which manufacture and convert bioplastics have,
in conjunction with the Interseroh Group, set up an advisory council for "Bioplastic
and Compostable Packaging Materials". Among those companies which are represented
on the advisory council is the Dutch producer EOSTA, which already supplies
packaging materials for German discounters. The main aims of the council are
to advance the introduction of bioplastic packaging materials into the marketplace
and to develop concepts and plans for an appropriate commercial exploitation
of these new packaging
Voluntary Commitment to the Introduction of Bioplastics
A consortium of plastics manufacturers has pledged itself to make commercially
available "environ-mentally friendly polymers" for the packaging industry.
Among the members of the consortium are BASF of Germany, as well as Cargill
Dow (USA), Novamont ( Italy) and Rodenburg-Biopolymers (Holland) who between
them have more than 90 % of the European market in bioplastics.
The European Commission which at the moment is not planning any regulatory
directives for the introduction of bioplastics, has welcomed this commitment
to extend the range of polymers through innovative developments in the area
of bioplastics, to open new sources of income for farmers and to bring about
through high quality compost improvements in the soil and water quality.
Lower Costs for Trademark Protection in the EU
After a resolution of the European Commission the charges by the European Trademark
Office for the application and registration of trademarks and for the extension
of legal protection have been reduced. The Trademark Office, located in Alicante,
had to date been charging Euro 975 for an application for a trademark, Euro
1100 for the registration and Euro 2500 for the extension of legal protection.
The new charges are Euro 900 for the application, Euro 850 for the registration
of the trademark and Euro 1500 for the legal protection extension. By using
the electronic application system a further Euro 150 per application can be
saved. With these reductions in charges the financial hurdles for the use of
trade mark protection have been somewhat lowered.
Discussion Point : Product Piracy
As a lever in the fight against product piracy, strengthened EU guidelines
for protecting the legal rights of trademark owners, inventors and creators
are currently being discussed in industry circles in a number of countries.
The necessity of a more robust and thorough action against product imitation
stems from information from the European Customs Authorities. According to these
sources it is not only luxury products from well known producers but also everyday
products which are being counterfeited for sale. In the year 2004 the customs
authorities of the EU identified as counterfeit and confiscated 103 million
counterfeited products. This figure is however, according to industry sources,
only the tip of the iceberg. In the current discussions are, among other things,
demands for a minimum penalty for product piracy and for the possible confiscation
of all counterfeited transit products.
Introduction of the European Directives in Lithuania
Following the entry of Lithuania into the European Union the European Directives
in the area of pack-aging are to be introduced in the country. This is revealed
in a report by the Lithuanian Packaging Association. At present the EU regulation
Nr 1935/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27th October 2004,
concerning materials and other objects permitted in contact with food products,
and which supersedes the 80/590/EWG and 89/109/EWG (Official Document No. L338
of 13.11.2004, p.0004 - 0014) is being adopted into Lithuanian law. At the same
time the European Norms on packaging are being introduced into the Lithuanian
Norm Code. Through this process the latest advances in knowledge of product
spoilage as well as in the areas of quality control and testing of packaging
are being absorbed.
A packaging directive which corresponds to the European Packaging Directive
is already in force in Lithuania.
Studies in the Development of the Packaging Industry in the Reform Countries
of Central, Eas-tern and Southern Europe
The progress which has been made in the last 10 years in the development of
packaging in the reform countries of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe were
the subject of studies carried out at the educational centre of the Chamber
of Industry and Commerce in Leipzig in conjunction with packaging experts from
the Further Education Institutes. The basis of the studies were interviews with
the participating experts and the debates arising from the responses from those
The report which has now been issued is based on information from experts from
the countries of Armenia, Bulgaria, Poland, Rumania, Russia, the Ukraine and
Belarus. The report illustrates the progress achieved and also the ongoing problems
in the individual countries. One of the main points of the report is the specific
requirements of packaging in these countries, particularly the requirements
of package design, as well as those of protective function and information carrier,
together with the new ecological requirements for material conversion. The criteria
and goals for the development of new types of packaging in the seven various
countries are also assessed as are the criticisms in these countries of some
of the packaging of imported products.
International Masters Studies Course for Packaging at the Technical University
An international Masters Studies Course for new packaging solutions and ideas
is being introduced at the Technical University of Lappeenranta in Finland.
A main plank of the course, which will lead to the academic grade of Master
of Sciences, will be new packaging solutions based on paper, cardboard and corrugated
board. The tuition will be conducted in close contact with practical experience.
Aim of the course is to produce experts for leading positions in research and
development as well as in pro-duction and marketing capacities.
Omnibus Volume on the Development of Packaging in Armenia
A new omnibus volume with contributions from 7 authors has been published,
detailing the results of an evaluation by the Armenian Packaging Association
ARMENPAK of the latest developments in the area of packaging. The 88 page volume
is published as the 4th part in the series "Packaging, Materials, Equipment,
Technology and New Developments". The articles are available in the Russian,
English and Armenian languages.
The main focus of the content is an assessment of the recent ROSUPAK and TAROPAK
2005 exhibitions as well as the latest progress in food packaging ( contributions:
"Modern Trends in Food Packaging" and "Latest Packaging Materials
for Food Products"). Other articles give information about "The Label
as an object of Study" as well as about "Packaging and its Further
Development in Armenia" and the regulations introduced regarding product
information and labelling. The volume is supple-mented by the reproduction of
the FEFCO Code.
There is currently a publication in preparation in Yerevan detailing Armenian