Around a third of all plastics packaging consumed on the German market is accounted for by packaging for transportation and industry. The share of industrial packaging made from plastics has traditionally been very high in Germany compared with other European countries, as there is a significant demand for drums, canisters, sacks as well as rigid and flexible intermediate bulk containers made from plastics from the main customer, the German chemicals industry, owing to its strong export performance. One of the main areas of focus of the association’s work is therefore addressing the very complex subject of the transportation of dangerous goods in plastics packaging approved for such use. Around 40 IK member firms produce these types of packaging for dangerous goods.
The leading manufacturers of packages for dangerous goods have formed the Quality Assurance Association for Dangerous Goods Packaging (Gütegemeinschaft Kunststoffverpackungen für gefährliche Güter) under the aegis of IK in order to guarantee strict quality assurance in the production process. Agencies approved by the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) perform external on-site monitoring on behalf of the quality assurance association. Moreover, the association’s quality criteria also meet the requirements of the RAL quality assurance organisation. Members of the quality assurance association are permitted to use the RAL quality mark for their packages.
International transportation regulations of the United Nations
In no other segment of the packaging industry do international regulations have more importance than in the packaging industry. International regulations for road, rail and sea transportation are prepared at the level of the United Nations and transposed virtually unchanged into national legislation. They form the basis for business relationships of packaging businesses with their customers, but also with testing organisations and the relevant authorities. IK is the global centre of competence for dangerous goods packaging made from plastics. The secretariat of the ICPP International Confederation of Plastic Packaging Manufacturers is accordingly located at IK. ICPP has a consultative status with the United Nations in Geneva, where it can bring its professional influence to bear on the drafting of regulations. Furthermore, IK is represented on the various national bodies dealing with the transportation of dangerous goods where it collaborates closely with the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing.
IK also hosts the secretariat of the European Flexible Bulk Container Association (EFIBCA), which lobbies on behalf of manufacturers and sellers of such ”big bags” operating in the European market.