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New International Standards for Accessible Designs for Packaging and Containers Issued To achieve user-friendly approaches to identifying contents, opening packages and disposal

New international standards for accessible designs for packaging and containers have been issued as "ISO 19809: Packaging - Accessible design - Information and marking," based on the proposal filed by Japan to the International Organization for Standardization(ISO). These standards are expected to encourage businesses to disseminate Japan's outstanding user-friendly products for assisting elderly people and people with disabilities among global markets and to improve convenience for more and more people in using such products.

1. Background

apan has been introducing many types of user-friendly packaging and containers as an effort for assisting elderly people and people with disabilities in opening packages or identifying the contents of containers. For example, shampoo bottles with a knurled mark are a well-known user-friendly commodity, and JIS standards for these bottles were stipulated ahead of other commodities manufactured under the Guidelines for Standards Developers to Address the Needs of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities(Accessible Designs).

Meanwhile, in addition to carrying or storing goods, packaging and containers fulfill a variety of functions, e.g., conveying information on contents therein and approaches to disposing the containers.

In light of these functions, in advancing international standardization activities for packaging and containers, it needed to stipulate systematic standards for packaging and containers comprehensibly covering different situations ranging from purchase to disposal. In addition, to discuss such standards, stakeholders needed to address a variety of differences such as differences in ages, levels of perception and recognition, bodies, languages and cultures.

Figure 1:Examples of accessible designs for elderly and disabled people in the field of packaging

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2. Outline of the international standards and past efforts

Japan filed the proposal for formulating new ISO standards for packaging and containers with the ISO in June 2013. In response, through coordinating opinions among experts of member countries and conducting the final voting by them, the ISO officially issued new international standards for such packaging in November 2017.

The newly issued international standards, i.e., ISO 19809: Packaging-Accessible design-Information and marking, aim to achieve safety and security in using packaging and containers and to improve accessibility for a variety of users, including elderly people and people with disabilities, to packaging and containers through provision of "information and marking."

Key points of the information and marking that designers, developers and evaluators of packaging and containers under the standards should bear in mind are as follows.

(1)A variety of users and use environments, such as combinations of pictures and characters, simple expressions, and highlighted key points

(2)Characteristics that users can easily identify in determining packaging and contents, such as enhanced contrast between pictures/characters and their backgrounds, and choosing combinations of distinguishable colors

(3)Recognizable appearance to encourage users to smoothly decide and take actions involving steps of a product life cycle, e.g., purchase, storage, opening, use and disposal

(4)Provision of information for safe use, e.g., avoidance of improper use

(5)Encouragement of users to assess products in terms of accessibility

Japan has been advancing international standardization activities in the field of accessible designs for elderly people and people with disabilities through proposing systematic standards for packaging and containers comprehensibly covering different situations ranging from purchase to disposal. The newly stipulated ISO standards are another Japan-led achievement following on from the ISO 11156: 2011 Packaging-Accessible design-General requirements and the ISO 17480: 2015 Packaging-Accessible design-Ease of opening. In combination with the proposed ISO standards for handling and manipulation that member countries are discussing now, the new ISO standards are expected to make accessible designs for elderly and disabled people more systematic in the field of packaging.

Figure 2:Systematic standards for accessible designs for elderly and disabled people in the field of packaging

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3. Expected effects

A Japanese company first began producing shampoo bottles with a knurled mark approximately 26 years ago, and now the mark has been broadly popularized across Japan through JIS standardization in 2000, a good example of an accessible design having widespread effect in Japan. Positioning Japan’s knowledge and experience in international standards in a systematic manner is expected to contribute to broadly popularizing Japan’s outstanding user-friendly products for assisting elderly people and people with disabilities and also to provide worldwide users with a variety of options for products.

Note:
This successful standardization is partly due to the achievements under the Strategic Development of International Standards project(international standardization for assisting elderly people and people with disabilities in handling and manipulating packaging).

Release date

December 14, 2017

Division in Charge

International Standardization Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau

Related website

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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