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Packaging Future Direction

In recent years, the number of countries to propose environmental packaging regulation has increased significantly. The core ideas behind Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) have grown in popularity, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. With the addition of 10 new EU member states, new packaging requirements are expected to emerge in the near future. Asia has also been a hotbed of regulatory activity, achieving some of the most complex packaging design requirements, with more on the way. It is important for producers to stay informed on new packaging developments and to incorporate them into package engineering to guarantee success and compliance in the future.

The implementation of a packaging development protocol will ensure compliance, and will also highlight opportunities for reduction of packaging waste, fees, and environmental impact. A packaging development protocol is one way for companies to establish a process for taking into account the Essential Requirements, material and recyclability issues, and fee structures during packaging design (or incorporate these considerations into their existing processes).

Every possible attempt should be made to reduce packaging (or omit unnecessary packaging components) and to create resource efficient packaging, paying special attention to material and design choices. By including certification and environmental checks in the design approval process, the protocol can also form the basis for documentation of compliance and a packaging "due diligence" program. In other words, a successful and responsible producer not only remains well-informed about international packaging requirements, but also strives to apply them in all packaging design decisions.

In the midst of such far-reaching and varied regulation, packaging engineers retain control over the design of their products. Proactive awareness of worldwide packaging design and fee requirements proves to be beneficial in the long term. In many cases, adherence to the requirements through innovative effort not only ensures worldwide compliance, but provides an opportunity for environmental improvement and cost savings.

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