Earlier this year, the CNE started a working group called “Why are products packed this way?”.
The President, Michel Fontaine, provides us with explanations.
46_Pic01Here and there, the CNE has read comments about packaging that are vague, common preconceptions, and sometimes even false. Some of these comments can be misleading for consumers. However, the CNE’s role as a packaging expert is to make sure that all stakeholders have the correct information.
To this end, this work gathers factual information explaining why packaging is the way we know it. It could have been called “Packaging for Dummies ©” if we had wanted to mimic the famous book collection.
Our goal is very simple: explaining and trying to provide pedagogical information.

We want people to understand that the packaging of a product is not random.It stands at the crossroads of two needs:

  • The need to pack a product for the purpose of direct use or consumption in a given cultural and competitive environment
  • The need to “do its job” towards the product, i.e. preserving, transporting, making it easier to use, informing, to name but a few.
Some of the stakeholders may even think that the product we will examine should not exist as it is now. For instance they question the use of bottled water instead of tap water. This debat can exist, but it is not the aim of this publication.
We need packaging (whether or not it makes sense to some people) because there is a market for it, and it is up to us to explain in a simple way the reasons for the design of used packaging.
These various reasons stem from people’s consumption habits, the technical and economic potential of industrial tools, the need to preserve and transport products, the quality status of materials as well as from rules and regulations.
The methodology that was used to draw up this document leads us to focus on packed products of our daily life (refer to the well-known “10 markets”[1]) since they are the ones that consumers see and use every day.

However, we will also deal with all other types of packaging; because it should be recalled that the tonnage of household waste only accounts for 50% of total packaging, pallets excluded.
[1] Household packaging from ten mass markets products : evolution 1997-2009, CNE, July 2012.

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