Zero Waste Packaging: Possible or Not?

Although to eradicate packaging waste may sound impossible to achieve, sustainability is a path to take and make improvements over time to reduce environmental impact.

Portrait of Guillermo Dufranc Guillermo Dufranc Buenos Aires Followers: 455

Comments:
5
Votes:
4
Compartir:

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

Greek Proverb

In nature nothing disappears literally, everything is transformed instead. Water evaporates and becomes clouds to fall back into water. In this sense, we should take packaging waste as material to be transformed into something else. It may sound like utopian but many brands are taking over “their” waste to create new packaging or other objects. And this really works.

It is not easy to have an own recycling network, but there is still something to do about it. Even when it is not possible to change packaging materials for another more sustainable, there are organizations such as Terracyle1 which aim to eradicate the concept of waste. They receive waste to transform it into products. Such initiatives can make really substantial contributions to the packaging industry if companies that manufacture packaging or packaged products promote and support this sustainable proposal.

Honey Stanley presented a package for honey with the peculiarity that once the product is consumed the container can be reused as a vase, so we make the honey cycle start again and encourage bees to produce more.

Encourage and educate consumers

All efforts made to reduce the environmental impact of packaging or “green” practices are powerful statements to communicate in structural and graphic design. Consumer perception for environment care will generate greater appreciation towards the brand. Even the packaging can be used to communicate tips on how to recycle or reuse the packaging, how to separate, what their components are or how much they contribute to improve sustainability and raise public awareness at the same time.

The initiative “bring your own packaging” (BYOP) is a growing trend. This approach goes back to the fresh food markets where people would bring their own bags to carry products. There are many breweries that sell bulk beer and containers to be refilled so customers pay for the packaging just once.

Perhaps brands in the future should make reusable packaging for its own products so people fill them in a store or supermarket like in Unpackaged2 stores.

Through the digital printing technology, reusable containers could also be personalized by consumers. People could choose from a diverse variety of shapes or can create a custom design to get a bespoke structural design.

New materials or new ways to use them?

Compostable materials that can be planted in the land were launched lately. They are made from paper and paperboard from recycled fibres containing seeds. Plants and vegetables can grow from these packages if they are planted and watered. Another idea is to use the package as a container to add soil and growing plants or even edible mushrooms. Thus the second use of the package gives life to a new way of relating to it.

Little Duck Oat has a plantable cardboard, which contains seeds of carrot, tomato and lettuce. This idea makes possible to reduce waste with the joy and fun of growing your own vegetables.

However everything is not new in terms of materials, innovation can simply be based on a simple shift of standard materials. La Ibense launched a series of premium ice cream in conventional glass jars but uncommon for this kind of product.

Myths and Realities

In terms of sustainability, materials such as glass, plastic, paper or aluminium cannot be labelled as good or bad. Each has its pros and cons, depending on the product application and objectives of the package. If the container fails in its main functions of product protection and to attract consumers to buy it, all the energy consumed in the manufacture of the product and package provide more waste than the mere package. In addition, we should take into account the commitment of governments and companies to provide an efficient recycling network and also consumer education to really make a profound change in the culture of responsible consumption.

MrChocolate is a 100% natural and handmade chocolate bars. The packaging materials follow the idea and convey those values by means of recycled paper and a plastic sheet made from soy inside.

“One of the things you have to remember about sustainability is that it will take it forever.”

William McDonough, Author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Towards a cleaner future

Developments of edible coatings based on sugar or wax that promise to preserve products without additional packaging to protect were announced recently.3 On the other hand, there are materials that melt at contact with the water, as long as they ensure not pollute water, could be a variant to avoid accumulating packaging in landfills.

The concern for the care of the planet requires us to use creativity and resources towards ecology. If we put together ideas and efforts in the same direction we can surely achieve a cleaner future. One of the definitions of “design” I like most is that it is an activity that allows us to transform reality into another more preferable. This is the mission we have ahead.

Portrait of Guillermo Dufranc Guillermo Dufranc Buenos Aires Followers: 455

Comments:
5
Votes:
4
Compartir:

Help to spread this article by translating it

Translate to italian Translate to portuguese
QR code for access to article Zero Waste Packaging: Possible or Not?

This article does not express the opinion of the editors and managers of FOROALFA, who assume no responsibility for its authorship and nature. To republish, except as specifically indicated, please request permission to author. Given the gratuity of this site and the hyper textual condition of the Web, we will be grateful if you avoid reproducing this article on other websites.

Download PDF

Guillermo Dufranc

More articles by Guillermo Dufranc

Title:
Minimalist Packaging
Synopsis:
Minimalism requires to decide on what is really necessary from what is not.
Share:
Title:
The power of beauty in packaging design
Synopsis:
Design's aesthetic quality increases value for products and brands, making them more desirable.
Share:
Title:
The Rise of Craft Beer
Synopsis:
Craft beers are opting for innovative designs, focusing more on communicating their quality and craftsmanship than denote European tradition.
Share:
Title:
Healthy Food has Changed Packaging Design
Synopsis:
Since nutritional information became important and popular concern about it grew dramatically, many food brands have foreseen this as an opportunity to build their identity.
Share:

Debate

 logo
My opinion:

Login with your account to comment on this article. If you do not have it, create your free account now.

Portrait of Diana Rosales B
0
Diana Rosales B
7 months ago

Ultimamente me he vuelto más consciente de las consecuencias del consumo diario. Realmente me he puesto a pensar todo lo que consumimos cada día y que se termina yendo a la basura, o peor aún, que termina contaminando nuestros océanos y ríos y el planeta en general. Como diseñadores nuestro deber es solucionar problemas por medio del diseño, y creo que esta es una oportunidad perfecta para poder ayudar al planeta y también educar al consumidor en cuanto a sus hábitos de reciclaje y consumo. Lo que más me gustó fue ver que hay más soluciones que solamente usar packaging que ya ha sido reciclado, si no que hay formas de que el packaging sea reciclado por el consumidor. La solución que más me gustó fue la de hacer refill con los contenedores, ya que compras el contenedor solo una vez, ahorras y ayudas a reducir la basura. Creo que es un habito que deberíamos de empezar a tomar todos, y porque no es fácil entonces es necesario que las empresas no te dejen opción y que en cierta parte te obliguen a tomar estos hábitos.

1
Reply
Portrait of Elvira Dominguez
0
Elvira Dominguez
7 months ago

"the packaging can be used to communicate tips on how to recycle or reuse the packaging, how to separate, what their components are or how much they contribute to improve sustainability and raise public awareness at the same time" Acknowleding that tis is a subject that a lot of people is talking about, zero waste packaging is implemented inside the "fitness world", and "vegan world". People in 2018 are changing their costums, just because we are aware about what is happening with the world, but trying to make it possible around the word is kind of "impossible" just because the plastic industry will not be allowed to break, and lose billons.

1
Reply
Portrait of Regina Gutierrez
0
Regina Gutierrez
7 months ago

«One of the things you have to remember about sustainability is that it will take it forever.»

Increíble artículo!!! La frase que pongo arriba es la que más me llama la atención! Habla de que sustentabilidad tardará para siempre y creo que no es así! Creo que ya estamos creando un concepto que vivir en una sustentabilidad total es impossible pero que si podemos todos aportar como en el producto de la miel que habla de cómo sin envase luego sirve para crecer flores esto significa más polen para las abejas y creo que lo Mas importantes de la sustentabilidad es eso... recrear vida no cortar el ciclo natural de la naturaleza y creo que así aportamos más al cuidado del planeta que al crear nuevos productos que substitúyan otro porque es más fácil para el consumidor mantener sus hábitos diarios incertando sustentabilidad en sus vidas sin que se den cuenta que obligarlos a cambiar sus rutinas y a consumir nuevos productos!

1
Reply
Portrait of Nicole Crespo
0
Nicole Crespo
8 months ago

I consider this initiative very fascinating, not only as a designer who is motivated by these challenges, but because it coincides that in my city (Guayaquil) is being carried a campaign in which the objective is to eradicate the use of plastics in packages.

As you mention, it takes a lot of creativity to make friendly packages for the environment, but the biggest challenge is in our habits. We are so used to plastics that we can’t imagine a life without them. Thats why we need creative minds with enough intelligence to change certain traditions.

Once this is possible, the goal is to be carried out throughout the country and the whole world.

We need to make citizens aware of the damage generated by plastic containers and join the project of a city without them.

0
Portrait of Guillermo Dufranc
455
Guillermo Dufranc
7 months ago

Thank you for your comment, Nicole. I think the war against plastic is worthless. We need plastic for our life and for our industry. What we really have to do is to stop throwing plastic where it can´t be recycled and eradicate single-use packaging. That is how we will reduce and recycle plastic waste definitely.

0
Reply

Might interest you

Portrait of André Ricard
Author:
André Ricard
Title:
From the Useful-object to the Object-tool
Synopsis:
Freed from its functional responsibility, useful-objects appear as single-useful formal phenomena whose morphology is used to express a particular message.
Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
1
Followers:
454
Portrait of Vero Orso
Author:
Vero Orso
Title:
A Creative Methodology for Creative People
Synopsis:
Lego© Serious Play is a worldwide astounding methodology. It puts high executives and their employees together to find solutions for their companies. And this is done by playing...
Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
0
Followers:
66
Portrait of Milton Glaser
Author:
Milton Glaser
Title:
Ten Things I Have Learned
Synopsis:
I'm sharing some things I've learned over the years, which have much to do with what we, the designers, do.
Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
24
Comments:
3
Followers:
555
Main illustration of the article Some ideas are too big
Author:
Fernando Del Vecchio
Title:
Some ideas are too big
Synopsis:
We all have ideas. Some have great ideas. What is the difference between an idea and a big idea?
Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
1
Followers:
733
Portrait of Ana Yago
Author:
Ana Yago
Title:
Sundays Smell of Roast Chicken
Synopsis:
The least one can ask of a chair is for it to be functional and ergonomic but these qualities no longer suffice Today a chair will have to adjust to the shifting tastes of society
Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
2
Comments:
1
Followers:
17
Portrait of Fernando Del Vecchio
Author:
Fernando Del Vecchio
Title:
Innovation on Design Is Not Inside Design
Synopsis:
Nowadays, is common to listen in almost every conversation “innovation” term. Everything must be “innovative”. However, innovation is not the same for everyone.
Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
3
Followers:
733