CEN is developing European standards to support the industrial and societal need for packaging. The turnover of the packaging industry in Western Europe represents around 2% of GDP. The food industry is the main user of packaging with nearly 60% of total packaging production.

The range of packaging types and products is highly diversified and in many cases tailored to the needs of the users.

Packaging concerns a variety of actors: raw material producers, packaging converters, users, transport, distribution, consumers, waste management activities and public authorities.

In some sectors of packaging (e.g. glass, paper, cardboard, metal cans), mergers and internationalization have increased. However, there is still a large number of small and medium sized companies.

News and events

No news and events at the moment.

Technical bodies and activities

CEN Technical Committee, which work is related to packaging:

CEN Technical Committe 261 'Packaging', has developed a series of standards on a broad range of subjects.

  • EN ISO 11683:1997 - 'Packaging – Tactile warnings of danger - Requirements'. This standard aims at improving the physical protection of consumers.

CEN has also developed standards on loading units such as swap bodies, which is a container with particular dimensions designed for intermodal transport in Europe.

This series of documents is prepared in CEN Technical Committee 119 'Swap bodies for combined goods transport'.

Other studies are progressing in order to maximize the loading units and transport logistics efficiency whilst considering the legislative, technical and economical conditions.

Sector Forum

A sector forum is a platform aiming at facilitating the exchange of information between the diferent stakeholders coordinating and identifying the standardization needs in a specific field of CEN Work.
There is no Sector Forum in this area.

European legislation and mandates

Packaging has a vital social and economic function and is subject to various legislative requirements related to the quality, safety and hygiene of packaged products: requirements for the transport of dangerous goods; regulations concerning packaging in contact with foodstuffs; measures dealing with the environmental aspects of packaging and packaging waste.
The European Commission mandated CEN to develop standards that meet the essential requirements of Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste.
Revised versions of European standards on packaging along with the unrevised EN 13432:2000 'Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation – Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging' are now supporting this Directive:
  1. EN 13427:2004, Packaging – Requirements for the use of European Standards in the field of packaging and packaging waste;
  2. EN 13428:2004, Packaging – Requirements specific to manufacturing and composition – Prevention by source reduction;
  3. EN 13429:2004, Packaging – Reuse;
  4. EN 13430:2004, Packaging – Requirements for packaging recoverable by material recycling;
  5. EN 13431:2004, Packaging – Requirements for packaging recoverable in the form of energy recovery, including specification of minimum inferior calorific value;
  6. EN 13432:2000, Packaging - Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation – Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging.
Following the publication of these standards in the Official Journal of the European Union, any packaging that is being produced in compliance with these standards is in conformity with the Essential Requirements of the Directive. This provides producers with full access to all countries in the European Economic Area and avoids that producers will need to demonstrate conformity with the essential requirements.
> Further information is available from the European Commission's New Approach website.
> Europen (an association in liaison with CEN) has produced a guideline for the packaging industry.

Useful links

Other organizations involved in 'packaging' activities: