The International Standards Organization (ISO) is reputable for setting international standards for practically any item in use today. Sustainable consumer products are not left out also. The standards for manufacturing sustainable products and packaging are contained in the ISO’s guideline for packaging and the environment released in 2013. There are 6 standards series that provides a guide for sustainable material productions.
Listed in order, from the first, they are:
- ISO 18601: This is the introductory part that offers a comprehensive explanation of requirements and guides for deploying the standards in the packaging industry.
- ISO 18602: This part deals with the efficient deployment of standards for packaging systems; it specifically emphasizes the non-inclusion of heavy metals and radioactive contaminants.
- ISO 18603: This part covers the standards for the reuse and recycling of packaging.
- ISO 18604: These standards address the recovery of sustainable packaging through recycling.
- ISO 18605: This part deals with the use of energy recovery to improve the value of packaging
- ISO 18606: This part deals with the use of organic recovery to increase the value of packaging.
Furthermore, the ISO released metrics for measuring the compliance of sustainable consumer products to international standards. Titled, The Sustainable Packaging Metrics, the first version, was released in 2009 and was divided into 8 parts:
- Metrics for Materials use.
- Metrics for energy use.
- Metrics for water use.
- Metrics for material health.
- Metrics for clean manufacture, production, and transportation.
- Metrics for cost and efficiency.
- Metrics for effects on workers.
- Metrics for effects on the community.
Each set of standards is important. However, the most impactful in the packaging industry are ISO 18602 and ISO 18604. Why?
ISO 18602 outlines in detail the requirements for the production of packaging to meet international standards for performance and sustainability. It is a complete checklist that provides information readily.
ISO 18604 provides quality information regarding the materials to be used, possible challenges, and information regarding the quality of packaging. It is a more comprehensive information of the whole process.
The ISO standards for sustainable consumer products have been adopted by not less than 100 countries around the world. It is worthy of note that the original team that formed the standards were from 70 countries and the standards took into account the unique conditions of each continent concerning the packaging.