Search for Criteria for Sustainable Packaging

Whether for portioning, transport and or protection – packaging ensures a sufficient and hygienic supply of food. But how does one evaluate sustainable packaging?

The Prosperkolleg and the Effizienz-Agentur NRW have developed an evaluation matrix for sustainable food packaging in cooperation with companies from the food industry as part of a series of specialist workshops. Now the initiators are looking for more interested companies from the industry until the end of July 2021 to test the system in practice and develop it further.

„Packaging is important, but it also contributes to the fact that Europe’s food industry accounts for around 28 percent of resource consumption and 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the European economy,“ explains Stefan Alscher, resource efficiency consultant at Effizienz-Agentur NRW. Sustainable packaging protects the climate and satisfies an existing demand: recent surveys show that around 77 percent of consumers would pay more for more sustainable packaging.

From product protection to communication

As part of the joint specialist workshop series „Sustainable Packaging in the Food Industry,“ which ended on June 1, Prosperkolleg and Effizienz-Agentur NRW offered workshops and expert discussions on the development of a structured catalog of criteria in the form of an evaluation matrix for sustainable food packaging. Twelve companies participated in the series of expert workshops, eight of which helped develop the evaluation matrix.

„The new evaluation procedure can be used to discuss existing packaging and packaging under development within the company or with partners along the value chain“, says Henning H. Sittel, resource efficiency consultant at Effizienz-Agentur NRW.

A total of 32 evaluation criteria from the specialist areas of product protection, circularity, environment, plant utilization and communication can be used as decision-making aids when evaluating packaging. Companies interested in the evaluation matrix and wishing to use it free of charge can contact the Effizienz-Agentur NRW or Prosperkolleg until the end of July 2021. Both the results and the criteria catalog can subsequently be used by companies free of charge, it is said.