Around 200 participants from the industry met for the 32nd Dresden Packaging Conference. The focus was on ideas and opportunities for sustainable and recyclable packaging. The spectrum ranged from innovative, fiber-based materials, technologies, and software to strategies and analyses for companies and analyses of regulatory activities.
“After two years of corona-induced exile in virtual space, we were able to finally bring back the traditional year-end meeting of the industry as live event again. This is a great bonus, especially for a networking platform like the Dresden Packaging Conference,” said dvi Managing Director Winfried Batzke, who acted as moderator for the conference, whose partner is the FACHPACK is.
Challenges for brand manufacturers
The specific question was which challenges brand manufacturers are facing in packaging development. Here, executives from Alfred Ritter, Develey Senf & Feinkost, and Gropper Dairy provided insights into material availability, design for recycling, and the influence of EU regulators.
The conference placed a strong focus on the topic of recycling and the circular economy. For example, representatives from Stora Enso, Linhardt, and Sonoco examined current practices, opportunities, and perspectives in recycling for fiber composites, aluminum, and composite cans. A zero waste approach with the possibility to combine recycling and composting of tableware and service packaging was presented by the company Papstar. Other presentations were devoted to new sorting technologies (Polysecure), software for IT-supported determination of recycling (Chira), and the use of artificial intelligence for optimizing the recycling of plastics (Fraunhofer Institute).
New fiber-based materials
In the “substitution” ideas workshop, Papacks and the three startups Plant Pack, Superseven, and mujō called on the assembled industry to be more open to technology and materials, and to be innovative. They also presented their own fiber-based material alternatives. “It is impressive with how much dedication and creativity things are being worked on here. The variety of possible sources for renewable raw materials as well as the range of functionalities from printing and machinability to barriers have been recieved with great interest,” says Batzke.
Reusable and Greenwashing
Start-up power was also on offer at the Dresden Packaging Conference in the field of reusable solutions for large-scale and system catering, in which MealGood presented a holistic cradle-to-cradle solution. The EU’s plans for a tightened consumer protection regulation – and its consequences, among other things, for the on-pack communication of sustainability – were reported on by the representative of the sustainability label Flustix. Not only did the topic of greenwashing come up, but also practices of premature failure of goods.
Big Picture and Best Practice
The important role of the packaging industry in climate protection in general and the sustainability goals of brand manufacturers in particular was highlighted by B+P Consultants. The informative presentation dealt, among other things, with the relevance of packaging for the sustainability goals of branded companies, the activities of the brand owners, the activities of regulators, and the development of CO2 as a new additional currency for products and their packaging. Following this, the sustainability expert from Linhardt demonstrated how sustainability goals can be planned and implemented in an exemplary manner within a company.
Cooperation and network
The conference was rounded off by a presentation by Futury, which brings together innovators and successful companies through cooperation initiatives. In 2023, Futury will focus on the topics plastics, packaging, and the environment.