It depends on the individual case. Rarely is this answer more true than when it comes to the question of the ideal sustainable packaging. Not even the position: 'The most sustainable way is to completely do without packaging' proves to be universally valid. 'I was in the Soviet Union in 1984. A large amount of food was lost there because it was not packaged and therefore could not be transported. I think we should celebrate packaging much more', says Michael Braungart, professor of Eco-Design at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Erasmus University Rotterdam, for example. As the developer of the so-called cradle-to-cradle principle, Braungart is one of the masterminds behind the circular economy, in which flows of goods and materials are managed in such a way, that in the end no waste remains in the sense of zero waste.
Many experts emphasize that the abandonment of packaging does not necessarily mean a better ecological balance. This is also the case for Victoria Krauter, Professor at the Department of Packaging and Resource Management at the FH Campus Wien and Head of the Competence Center for Sustainable Packaging Solutions of the City of Vienna: 'On one hand, the production of packaging consumes resources, on the other hand, correctly chosen packaging can prevent the waste of resources because it protects products such as food from spoiling. You have to find the right balance between these poles for each specific use, for each specific case. Even for one and the same product, different solutions can make sense, depending on the initial situation.' PACOON Managing Director Peter Désilets is aware of the relevance of the respective initial situation: 'That's why I always answer the questions about the most sustainable packaging with the comparison that one and the same car is also not the best solution for everyone – whether young and single, a family of 6 or craftsman. So the optimal packaging always has to be evaluated differently for the individual company and its sustainability goals, production conditions, sales channels and countries.'