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Designing Sustainable Packaging

November 9th, 2011

The design industry is actively exploring new packaging materials that minimize environmental impact. For example, designers can select papers that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is an independent, nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. Or when designing for polybag food packaging, designers can choose compostable and biodegradable films. Printing vendors are bringing sustainable practices into their shops as well. They are now using vegetable-based inks as an alternative to petroleum-based inks. And some printers are undergoing certification by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership.

In addition to considering materials, designers are also considering the package itself and exploring how far they can change it. For example, PUMA recently redesigned its packaging by eliminating the shoe box altogether, packaging the shoes in a bag instead. This change will reduce cardboard use and save paper, electricity and water. In another example, a company that makes trash bags replaced the box with a belly band wrapped around the roll of bags. The band gives enough room for marketing and legal information, while the exposed roll of bags lets the consumer see the product.

Finally, packaging design is being integrated into the product design process. Historically, packaging design was done after the product was designed. But now, product design teams are bringing packaging designers into the design process from the beginning. The advantages can include reduced cost and less waste, as well as a faster overall release of the product to the market.

These are a few of the many ways you can lower your costs, increase efficiency and reduce your environmental footprint. If you’d like to learn more, give us a call.