Excessive packaging is both costly for a company and the environment. We’ve all been caught in unwrapping rage more than once in our lives, and not just caused by your over-zealous aunt at Christmas. In some cases, packaging has become so complicated that it can’t even be recycled. So it gets dumped and our wildlife and marine life get caught in all the packaging too.
Packaging is there to make products look good, and if companies can’t keep up with the demand to be sustainable, well, they look bad. So it’s no wonder some of the biggest global brands are cleaning up their packaging act:
Dell’s Shroom Packaging
Dell has really invested in using alternative eco-materials in its packaging. Starting off with bamboo packaging in 2008, Dell have now begun shipping products in packaging made from a combination of fungus and agricultural waste. The computer giant remains ambitious, and has announced to convert entirely to recyclable or compostable packaging materials by 2020.
Puma’s Clever Little Bag
Puma has worked hard to develop sustainable packaging, including swapping difficult-to-recycle plastic resin for recycled paper in their sandal hangers. Puma also famously introduced the Clever Little Bag in 2010, a reusable bag with a simple cardboard insert, to replace shoe boxes. They also fold tops that bit smaller so they require half the packaging, which also happens to be compostable. Simple.
Nike Air Max Recycled Backpacks
Nike partnered up with Taiwanese Architect, Arthur Huang, this year to design a shoe box to house the infamous Nike Air Max shoes in a way that allows the planet to breathe easy. An edgy and useful rucksack made entirely of recycled containers and coffee lids was what they came up with. The best thing, it makes a great storage box at home too!
Sennheiser’s Eco Headphone Packet
Electrical items are some of the most over-wrapped out there, often delivered in a box, in plastic, in more plastic, with plastic wires…you know, the kinds of things you find sealed so tightly in plastic you need both scissors and patience to get at them. Sennheiser’s solution to this comes in the form of minimal, recycled cardboard packaging, which keeps the product in place with headphone-shaped holes instead of wires (logical right?). Another savvy design solution in the electronics department comes from Gigs2Go, with their egg carton style USB sticks, which save both on the plastic used for a USB and the silly hand-sized plastic containers they usually come in.
[USB Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/260505159669201825/]
Making packaging eco-friendly comes down to materials and minimalism. Get it right, and not only will you reduce waste and save costs on excessive materials, but transport will become more efficient too. More fun than that though, it’s a chance to show off some clever design that will immediately put you on the map for eco-conscious consumers. Having sustainable packaging that looks exactly like it is that matters even more for eco-friendly companies. Check out Olive’s playful cardboard boxes with a peephole to the biodegradable dog poop bags inside for a good example.
While eco-friendly packaging can be fun, and better than non-biodegradable plastic, at the end of the day, there is no better eco-packaging than no packaging. Sure, this may be unavoidable sometimes, especially in the age of online shopping, but choose wisely and avoid one-use packets when you can. We all know that making our own granola and storing it in a glass jar is going to make more sense than buying $10 organic granola in a fancy cardboard cylinder. Just saying.