ISO Guide 41 on Consumer Packaging

A recent ISO article described packaging as having come a very long way since its humble beginnings of gourds and clay pots. These days, the world of packaging is much more complex, needing to be safe and sustainable, while remaining appealing and functional.

The article related that the humble glass bottle, which is making a comeback thanks to its facility for recycling, was first commercialized by the ancient Egyptians some 3,500 years ago. About 1,300 years later, the Chinese gave us paper, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that branding started appearing on packaging, leading to bar codes, nutrition facts, and a lot more.

These days, packaging must not only conform to legal requirements, it needs to appeal to consumers as well, helping them make informed choices. An international guide has just been revised to help organizations ensure their packaging meets growing consumer needs.

ISO Guide 41, Packaging – Recommendations for addressing consumer needs, provides guidance to product designers, manufacturers, regulators, and others involved in decision making regarding packaging – including standards developers.

The functions that packaging can perform include, but are not limited to, containment, protection, handling, transport, storage, convenience, information, and presentation.

The document also considers the sustainable use of resources covering optimization, reuse, and recovery of packaging.

The Guide 41 revision features more detailed information on risk assessment, vulnerable consumer needs, cost reduction, use of resources, suitability for intended purpose, and recycling. Consumers are expected to benefit from industry use of the revised guide, with safer, more appropriate, and informative packaging.

ISO Guide 41, edition 2, is 19 pages. It can be ordered for about $120 at this ISO web page.

Note: ISO Guide 41 is not applicable to bulk packaging, which is solely intended to protect products in bulk when being transported between manufacturers and retailers, and it is not intended for industrial packaging.