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Types of packaging: an overview of the most important types of packaging



In principle, packaging represents the wrapping of a product in order to protect it from external influences and damage and to be able to transport it properly. There is a suitable container for every imaginable product. We will introduce you to the most important types of packaging.




Packaging serves a variety of purposes. From shipping cartons, which enable goods to be sent by post, to product packaging such as food cans, in which food can be kept for months or even years, to retail packaging that is optimized to communicate advertising messages and encourage customers to buy . Packaging actively supports us in everyday life - be it by increasing the handiness and comfort of products or the shelf life of food, for example. They are also used for dosing, communication with the end customer as well as information and advertising. Thanks to the different types of packaging, there is the right cover for every application.

However, packaging and in particular some types of packaging can also be viewed critically. In no country of the European Union is there currently (as of 2019) more packaging waste than in Germany. This results in a need for action for politics, society and also companies. The legislature reacted in 2019 with the Packaging Act, which is intended to significantly increase the recycling rates for packaging waste and, against this background, obliges those who first bring packaging to the domestic and international market. It doesn't work entirely without packaging - for this very reason, however, sustainable recycling should be ensured.


Overview: The most important types of packaging

  • Product packaging
  • Service packaging
  • Shipping packaging
  • Transport packaging


What types of standard packaging are there?

We encounter the most important types of packaging every day. This is product packaging that we know from supermarkets and retailers, for example. We also come into contact with shipping packaging particularly often - for example when we order something from an online retailer and they send the goods in a shipping box. What are the other most important types of packaging? We introduce them to you.

  • Product packaging: the right packaging for every product 

Product packaging, for example, supports the shelf life of goods and protects the products from external influences. This type of packaging is one of the most common containers, as almost every product in the supermarket is wrapped in it. From cereal boxes to wine bottles, most everyday goods are included in product packaging. Product packaging counts as sales packaging and is therefore subject to licensing in accordance with the Packaging Act.

  • Service packaging: the short-lived

Service packaging is a container that is used particularly frequently in the catering industry and primarily serves the purpose of protecting food for a short time until it is consumed directly. These include, for example, pizza boxes, coffee-to-go cups and roll bags, which are usually only filled with the product when the goods are handed over to the end consumer and are often disposed of very quickly. Service packaging counts as sales packaging and is therefore subject to a license in accordance with the Packaging Act.

  • Shipping packaging: Irreplaceable in shipping

When sending goods, the goods are often in their packaging z. B. placed in an additional cardboard box with shock-reducing filling material and sent to the end customer. Shipping packaging counts as sales packaging and is therefore subject to licensing in accordance with the Packaging Act.


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  • Transport packaging: They remain in the trade

Transport packaging remains in the trade or B2B area. This type of packaging can be, for example, a pallet with products that are additionally wrapped with plastic film in order to ensure the highest possible stability. Transport packaging does not come from private end consumers and therefore does not have to be licensed via a dual system. Nevertheless, there is a take-back obligation for them that can be transferred to third parties: Transport packaging service from Interseroh.


The materials of the types of packaging

The most common materials used in the most important types of packaging usually cover the whole range of possible raw materials. This primarily includes cardboard, paper and cardboard, which are used in particular in the mail order business, as well as plastics from which many vessels, boxes and foils are formed. Glass and ferrous metals are also frequently used materials, as are aluminum and other metals, composite packaging and natural materials such as wood, cotton and cork.


Packaging: With the packaging act to higher recycling rates

As practical as different types of packaging are, most wrappings are waste within a very short time. Service packaging in particular, such as coffee-to-go cups, usually reaches the end of its service life after just a few minutes. But many other types of packaging, for example from the supermarket, end up in the yellow sack or the yellow bin after a few days.

To counteract this, the legislature passed the new Packaging Act 2019 as the successor to the previous Packaging Ordinance. The regulation significantly increases the recycling rates for packaging waste. For the financing of the recycling apparatus, all companies that bring sales packaging into circulation are made responsible by paying a “license fee”. You have to register accordingly with the central office packaging register in the database LUCID and join one of the dual systems in order to fulfill your obligations through packaging licensing (this is possible, for example, without any problems here at Licensor).

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