Towards a Generic Set of Packaging Material Key Figures

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Many companies consider the reduction of packaging material as a relevant development direction, either required by cost savings, supply chain efficiency, sustainability or substantiated by regulations (directive 94/62/EC). This aligns with an eco-efficient redundancy perspective on packaging. Research shows that material efficiency requirements in packaging design briefs are often only justified by aims towards cost reduction; commercial viability is regularly prioritized over sustainability aims. Insights collected from current material quantification analyses like product-packaging life cycle assessment (LCA) and costing (LCC) are not directly applicable during generative development processes. Packaging material key figures can be useful for that, as the middle ground between design guidelines and rules-of-thumb but research in this area is limited. Key figures are established in other sectors like electrical appliances’ energy use, automobile fuel economy, or housing energy efficiency. Based on existing studies about eating patterns of Dutch consumers the research determined typical fast moving consumer goods consumption patterns that are grouped according to product type and use scenario, which lead to daily product consumption patterns. Key figures of used amount of packaging material per product type are determined by looking at packaging solutions present in the market. These figures are linked to the consumer patterns. The outcome is compared with annual packaging waste figures as validation. The research shows for example that packaging material use for food products is currently over 6 times higher than material use for non-food products, and that beverages and products required for dinner require the highest amount of packaging. The research contribution is a collection of packaging material key figures, grouped per product type and use scenario. The range of key figures (minimal and maximum material amounts) is useful as starting point for efficient material use in packaging design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication28th IAPRI Symposium on Packaging 2017
Subtitle of host publicationUnlocking the full potential of packaging across the value-chain
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Event28th IAPRI Symposium on Packaging 2017 - The Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: 9 May 201712 May 2017
Conference number: 28


Conference28th IAPRI Symposium on Packaging 2017
Internet address


  • Packaging design
  • Packaging material
  • Design brief
  • Sustainability
  • key figures
  • Benchmarking


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