A lot has been said and heard about sustainable packaging, with more advancement in the area paving the way to create amicable, eco-friendly solutions to this complex issue. While there is nothing like completely sustainable package there are ways to make improvements to the package in order to reduce its overall impact on the environment. Here are some ideas as well as examples of sustainable packaging that may come to your use in the future.
A life cycle approach is a must for sustainable package design
Use a Life-Cycle Assessment Tool to understand the myriad environmental impacts the packaging may have right from the raw materials and resources to production and use. An LCA tool will compare the materials and design of the packaging against a set of environmental indicators and offer help on material and design decisions via visual guidance.
Each component of the packaging needs to be evaluated
The ultimate aim is to use less material for packaging without compromising on product safety and integrity. In this case, it is vital to examine each component of the packaging to ascertain where these changes can be implemented. For instance, if the container cannot be altered, the caps or labels can be improved and vice versa. In doing so, a higher product to package ratio is achieved which results in a smaller footprint, reduced weight and a smaller price tag, etc.
Packaging needs to be made reusable
The focus is on using packaging that can be reused for other purposes once its main purpose is achieved. Reusable packaging will place less demands on the resources used in the manufacture of the same, including water, diesel, paper and energy, etc. Excellent examples include Domino’s reusable pizza box which can be broken down into plates and KFC’s reusable containers which paved the way for sustainability designs in packaging.
Lightweight packaging needs to be embraced
More and more companies around the world have started embracing what they call the lightweight packaging trend in order to minimize waste production. Lightweight packaging also has several other benefits, including reduced use of materials and resources for manufacturing, reduced costs for manufacturing, and reduced environmental impact, etc.
Promising Examples of Sustainable Packaging
100×100 Milk Containers
These are milk containers made of cardboard. While that is easily evident from the design, what one cannot see is the container’s dual purpose as a seed holder for various herbs. These seeds can be sown to create mini gardens in homes.
Puma Clever Bags
Designed by Yves Behar for Puma, these clever bags are made using fewer resources and raw materials. Almost 60% of energy, water and diesel are saved during the manufacture of these bags, which can also be reused for other purposes.
Dutch Design Chair
Bringing portable seating options to the forefront, the Dutch Design Chair is an incredibly innovative design that looks like a briefcase and pops out into a stool like chair. Better yet, the chair can be folded back into the form of a flat briefcase and carried around easily.
The Dream Ball Project
Designed by Korea based Unplug Design, the Dream Ball Project features a series of cardboard tubes used for packaging. These durable cardboard tubes can later be turned into footballs and distributed to kids in underdeveloped countries.
Hanes T. Shirt Packaging
How big is a package for a T. Shirt going to be considered the cloth does not take up much space. Hanes has found the perfect solution to packing and sending T. Shirts via cardboard sleeves which are not only slimmer, but are made out of 100% recycled materials. The slim size and design of the cardboard saves a lot on shipping weight and travel related costs while making it easier to pack the T. Shirt by simply slipping it into the sleeve.
Sustainable packaging has been gaining a lot of traction the past few years. There are many ways packaging can be made more sustainable by limiting the materials and resources used for their manufacture, and by ensuring that they can be reused for other purposes.