When you think of packaging, what words come to mind? Plastic or paper bags at a grocery store, or perhaps a cardboard box and packing tape? Well, today there are all sorts of unique packaging ideas. Most companies are looking more and more at sustainable packaging that is good for the environment, recyclable, and is not wasteful.
One commonly used material for sustainable packaging today is “sludge” or pulp. Think of those brown egg cartons at the grocery store. If you just soak them en water you can reform that material into any shape you need. You can pour it into molds and make specific shapes, too.
The pulp is just recycled paper and water. And what is paper maid of? Trees. Clean, natural, and re-recyclable. The forms this sludge can take are infinite. For a graphic designer in the packaging design field this can make the job very fun and versatile. Some materials used are, again, paper pulp, and also produce wastes such as wheat, mushrooms, and other natural materials. Did you know that it takes one plastic water bottle over 500 years to bio-degrade? It only takes paper 3-5 months. This is why it is so important to really think, not only about your product, but about the type of packaging you will use for your product. Many companies are making their eco-friendly packaging a part of their brand and identity. It can take a lot of time and planning to go from a company who produces a lot of waste to one who makes major changes and reduces waste. Many processes and procedures will have to be changed. When you look at the facts, though, it is clear to see that these changes are both necessary and the right thing to do. The initial changes and planning may be a bit expensive, but – when you think about it – part of the very definition of “sustainability” is to not waste. Therefore, sustainable packaging will save money in the long-haul by not Qusing as much materials to create packaging.
This is one fine example, to the left, of Newton Running shoes using the molded pulp packaging. The design is stackable as well as minimalistic. It does not waste the material used to create the packaging. Also, the packaging is biodegradable, so it can be used as a planter, or buried.
One thing that hurts sustainable packaging is the use of adhesives. A lot of them are toxic, or can become toxic over time. Some are not water-soluble and do not break-down over time. Therefore, some materials can harm the environment and the animals who inhabit those areas.
Another great reason for a designer and company to consider sustainable packaging is because it makes most consumers feel better about themselves. Eco-friendly packaging can be a very motivational thing. Once people absorb the importance of saving the environment they will appreciate all of the different ways it can be achieved.
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