Start-up power, best practice and brand insights at the Dresden Packaging Conference

7 December 2022

Around 200 participants from the entire value chain met on 1 and 2 December 2022 for the 32nd Dresden Packaging Conference at the Dreikönigskirche in the pre-Christmas Elbe metropolis

For one and a half days and an evening event, the focus of the networking platform was on ideas and possibilities for sustainable and recyclable packaging as well as a circular economy of packaging. The spectrum ranged from innovative, fibre-based materials, technologies and software to strategies for companies and analyses of regulatory activities.

"After two years of corona-induced exile in virtual space, we were finally able to hold the traditional year-end meeting of the industry as a presence event again. This is a real plus, especially for a networking platform like the Dresden Packaging Conference," reports dvi Managing Director Winfried Batzke, who led through the conference as moderator. "We had one and a half packed days with lots of start-up power, best practice from leading medium-sized companies and valuable insights from the branded goods industry," says Batzke.

Challenges for branded companies

Specifically, the question was what challenges brand-name companies face in packaging development. Here, executives from Alfred Ritter, Develey Senf & Feinkost and the Gropper dairy gave exciting insights into material availability, design for recycling and the influences of EU regulators.

Focus on recycling and the circular economy

The conference placed a strong focus on the topic of recycling and the circular economy. Representatives from Stora Enso, LINHARDT and Sonoco examined current practice, possibilities and perspectives in recycling for fibre composites, aluminium and composite cans.

A zero waste approach with the possibility of combining 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 recyclability (CHIRA) and the use of artificial intelligence for cycle optimisation of plastics (Fraunhofer Institute).

New fibre-based materials

In the substitution ideas workshop, PAPACKS and the three start-ups Plant Pack, Superseven and mujō demanded more openness to technology and materials as well as innovative spirit from the assembled industry and presented their own fibre-based material alternatives. "It is impressive how much dedication and creativity is being put into the work here. The variety of possible sources for renewable raw materials as well as the range of functionalities from printing and machineability to barriers met with great interest," reports Winfried Batzke.

Reusable and greenwashing

The Dresden Packaging Conference also offered start-up power in the area of reusable solutions for large-scale and system catering, where MealGood presented a holistic cradle-to-cradle solution.

The representative of the sustainability label Flustix reported on the EU's plans for a stricter consumer protection regulation - and its consequences for on-pack communication of sustainability, among other things. Not only the topic of greenwashing came up, but also practices of premature failure of goods.

Big Picture and Best Practice

The important role of the packaging industry for climate protection in general and the sustainability goals of brand manufacturers in particular was highlighted by B+P Consultants. Among other things, the informative presentation dealt with the relevance of packaging for the sustainability goals of brand manufacturers, the activities of regulators and the development of CO2 as a new additional currency for products and their packaging.

Afterwards, a sustainability expert from LINHARDT showed how to plan and implement a sustainability strategy in an exemplary manner within the company.

Cooperation and networking

The conference concluded with a presentation by Futury, which brings together innovators and successful companies through cooperation initiatives. Futury 2023 will focus on plastics, packaging and the environment.

The evening event of the conference had already provided space for extensive networking and cooperative exchange between the participants. The numerous students of packaging-related courses of study also had a chance to introduce themselves to the professionals of the industry. "A number of students were offered jobs and bachelor theses. And a number of companies certainly made a note of one or two names. It is seldom as easy as at the Dresden Packaging Conference to get to know the employees of tomorrow," affirms Batzke.

After thanking the conference sponsors Gerhard Schubert GmbH, Stora Enso Germany GmbH and LINHARDT GmbH & Co.KG, the dvi partner FACHPACK and Packaging Journal as media partner of the event, Winfried Batzke closed the "full to bursting" conference with a meaningful, pre-Christmas saying from the Bible: "But test everything, and keep what is good.

You can download the detailed conference report (in German) as a pdf here.

Source: Neue Verpackung